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21 July 2021
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By Sarah Matthews
Decorated Kaniva-Leeor United footballer Chris Tuckwell reckons it is ‘a little bit of stupidity, but the love of the game’ that motivates him to keep running onto the park alongside his team-mates.
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Tuckwell, 47, chalked up his 400th game during the Cougars’ Horsham District reserves encounter with Taylors Lake on July 10.
The Cougars overcame a slow start to draw level in the second term, with both sides battling hard the remainder of the match.
Tuckwell was among the better players in his side’s thrilling two-point win, 12.10 (82) to 12.8 (80), chaired off by team-mates in front of an appreciative crowd.
Tuckwell, or ‘Tucky’ as he is known, started his football career at Leeor in 1984 as a junior colt, debuting for the seniors in 1990, aged 16.
“In 1992 I went and played three years for Penola and then came back to Leeor,” he said.
“We amalgamated with Kaniva in 1996 for the ’97 season and I’ve been here ever since.”
Tuckwell tasted success as a junior, with his side winning a breakthrough premiership in 1988 after two years as runner-up.
He also made several representative teams, won various club awards and as a senior colt was named Tatiara Football League Colts Footballer of the Year in 1991.
He won the reserves best and fairest six times, coached for four seasons and won selection to the Kaniva-Leeor All Star Team during 20th anniversary of amalgamation celebrations.
Tuckwell prefers playing in the forward line – ‘I’m pretty partial to a goal’ – but throughout the years has played all over the ground.
He now lines up alongside sons of former team-mates.
“A lot of them weren’t even born when I started. It makes you feel old,” he said.
Like most sportspeople with hundreds of games under their belts, Tuckwell no longer wakes up fighting fit on Sunday mornings.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
“It still hurts. I go to training and I like to be in the trainer’s room for as long as I can. Then I go out and do a few stretches, say ‘that’ll do’ and head in for a schnitzel.
“That’s called body management.”
While he was thrilled to pull on the boots for his 400th game, Tuckwell said he believed he had reached his last major milestone.
“I’m under pressure to give it away, from the home front,” he said.
“I’ll keep playing as long as I can, but it’s coming to an end.”