HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Ronald Douglas TUCKER
|Date of Birth||30th June 1921|
Player: 1940-1941, 1945-1955
Games: 230: Perth 196, Subiaco 18, WA 16
Goals 850 (Perth 740, Subiaco 64, WA 46)
Honours: WAFL leading goal kicker 1950 (115 goals)
Perth club leading goal kicker 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1953, 1954, 1955
Subiaco leading goal kicker 1952
Australian Carnival player 1947, 1950
Sixth highest aggregate goal scorer in WAFL history
Few players provided more excitement to WAFL patrons between 1940 and 1955 than brilliant Perth forward Ron Tucker. After graduating from the Metropolitan Junior Football Association in 1940, Tucker established a reputation as a mercurial goal kicker with exceptional pace, brilliant aerial ability and outstanding ball handling and evasive skills during a 196-game career for Perth and 18 for Subiaco. He topped his club’s goal kicking list 10 times and the WAFL list once with his 1950 tally of 115 goals (104 in the home-and-away season plus 11 in the finals series) remaining a Perth Football Club record season tally.
Among many outstanding individual performances, 12 goals against Swan Districts in 1947 and another 12 against Claremont in 1950 were his best tallies but he kicked 10 or more goals in a WAFL match six times and, in perhaps his most memorable individual performance, he bagged 11 goals for the State second XVIII against North Melbourne at Subiaco Oval In 1953. That performance was Tucker at his best, in what was the last of his 16 representative appearances for WA.
In 1986 Perth’s long-time football manager Jack O’Dea, a teammate of Tucker in the 1940s, vividly remembered two other Tucker goal kicking efforts. “There was a day at the WACA when Ron kicked eight goals from centre half-forward in the first half against South and then did not add to that tally in the second half”, said O’Dea. ‘And then there was the time he was playing for Subiaco against Perth and he kicked eight goals on a day when he was used as a ruckman and in a forward pocket.”
Tucker was an outstanding junior athlete and commenced his league career shortly after his 19th birthday. Unfortunately, enlistment in the Army and the wartime loss of senior WAFL competition for three years from 1942 cut four seasons from his career after only 22 games. He did, however, experience the camaraderie of Service’s football and played at centre half-forward in the same Army team as goal sneak Bernie Naylor. Tucker’s athletic ability was emphasised by his victory in the Northern Territory 120 yards hurdles championship and his annexing of the 220 yards championship of New Britain in 1944. Resuming with Perth in 1946 he had six superb years before crossing to Subiaco in 1952 for one successful season to be the club’s leading goal scorer.
Back at Perth from 1953, Tucker remained one of the fittest and fastest men in the game thanks partly to the physical nature of his work as a South Perth fireman but his career sadly ended one game short of the memorable 1955 grand final in which his club defeated East Fremantle by two points to end a 48-year premiership drought. In the preliminary final against South Fremantle on October 1, Ron Tucker damaged his knee and was ruled out of the grand final. He was eight months short of his 35th birthday and an indelible career was at an end.
Ron Tucker passed away in 1986 at the relatively modest age of 64 but he was not forgotten when the Perth Football Club named their Team of the Century in 1999. He was a unanimous choice for the centre half forward position.