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Proudly Sydney

Tucker family bleeding red and white

From left: Lloyd, Jorrum, Durak and Amanda Tucker.
I am so proud that Durak’s on an AFL list and particularly at the ‘Swannies’. When I first heard Durak was going to the ‘Swannies’ I was jumping up and down. The ‘Swannies’ are extra special.
Lloyd Tucker

It wasn’t ever out of the ordinary for Western Australian Sydney Swans draftee Durak Tucker to hop between his West Coast guernsey and Fremantle jumper throughout a toing and froing derby as a footy-crazed kid.

But the big-framed, fleet-footed, 19-year-old defender, and in fact the entire Tucker family, now sees nothing but red and white.

Durak realised his childhood dream as the Swans secured his signature as a rookie last November, with the youngster joining Nick Blakey, James Rowbottom, Justin McInerney, Zac Foot, Harry Reynolds and Sam Wicks in the Draft class of 2019.

Durak’s parents, Lloyd and Amanda, were at The Star in Sydney as their son received his jumper at the 2019 Guernsey Presentation and Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Wednesday night – and his dad offered Swans Media a captivating insight into the full-blooded passion for the red and white that’s blossomed in the family since Draft day.

“As a young kid it was just a matter of who was winning. The derby would be on and Durak would be wearing a Dockers guernsey, and if the Eagles were winning at half-time he’d shoot upstairs and come back down with a West Coast jumper on. There was no loyalty. Whoever was winning, he was on that side,” his dad Lloyd said.

“But the red and white is all we think about now. The teams in the west are now a far distant memory now that Durak’s at the ‘Swannies’.

“I am so proud that Durak’s on an AFL list and particularly at the ‘Swannies’. When I first heard Durak was going to the ‘Swannies’ I was jumping up and down. The ‘Swannies’ are extra special.”

So in line with the Swans is Durak’s dad that, although his son hasn’t yet played a game for the club due to an ACL rupture suffered early last year, he tuned in to the live stream of Sydney’s recent inter-club match against GWS from the dusty and dirty mounds of a Western Australian mine.

His dad, who splits his professional time between lecturing at TAFE and working in the mines, said he wouldn’t miss a Swans game for the world – and even if it means squinting through fading and flickering reception.

But on a day Durak’s mum described as “really long” and “really emotionally draining”, the Peel Thunder product at one point thought his AFL dreams had been dashed.

Durak and his mum watched from the living room of their Australind home as the picks of the AFL Draft rung out on the TV.

The AFL Draft wrapped up, Durak’s name hadn’t been announced and he lugged himself upstairs, slumped on his bed and sunk his eyes into a David Attenborough documentary.

But a message from a mate would soon see Durak leap out of bed, tear down the stairs and shock his mum with six words she’ll never forget: "Mum, I’m going to bloody Sydney!"

His mum had shut the front door and was about to jump in the car to head to the shops, but not before an ecstatic Durak stopped her in her tracks. 

“We were at home all day, we were seeing all his mates getting drafted, he recognised heaps of people’s names and he was really happy for them,” his mum Amanda told Swans Media. 

“Then the clubs started passing and he just said, ‘Mum it’s all over’. So I thought, ‘Well, I’ll go to the shops. Durak needs to deal with this himself’. So I walked outside, I was just about to hop in my car and then I saw him shooting out the front door. He was crying and screaming, saying ‘Mum, I’m going to bloody Sydney!’ It was so exciting. It was just brilliant.

“We hugged and hugged and hugged some more, and he was shaking from head to toe. He was just so excited. It was incredible.”

Durak posing for a photo with his mum Amanda and dad Lloyd at the Guernsey Presentation and Hall of Fame Induction Dinner.

Durak’s dad was tied up lecturing a TAFE class but managed to find five minutes late in the afternoon to give his son a call.

“He was screaming, ‘I’m going to the Swans, dad! I’m going to bloody Sydney!’

“He was just hysterical. He was so bloody happy.”

It’s often said in sporting parlance the dark times make the taste of success sweeter.

And not only Durak, but the entire Tucker family – his dad Lloyd, mum Amanda and 20-year-old brother Jorrum – were shattered he missed almost all of Peel’s 2018 season after rupturing his ACL.

Durak produced a best-on-ground performance in the Thunder’s opening game of the season, but his knee then buckled at training and he wouldn’t pull on another guernsey until landing at the Swans.

It hurt his dad to see his son watch from the sideline for all but one game of the season, and he said it was Durak’s gritted-teeth fight that saw him conquer the mountain.

“It was devastating, particular going into his Draft year,” his dad Lloyd said.

“But Durak, with his resilience, his dedication and his commitment, had a clear goal. And he just worked and worked and worked towards the Draft.”

His never-say-die spirit saw him sign with the Swans via pick 12 at last November’s Rookie Draft.

And his family, now through-and-through supporters of the red and white, couldn’t be prouder of the young Swan.