- February 9, 2000
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "A medium defender who reads the play well and has the ability to play on tall or small forwards."
Durak Tucker is still considered one of the best defensive prospects in this year’s draft, despite missing the 2018 season with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. This is largely because of the potential he displayed as a bottom-ager for Peel Thunder and the Western Australia Under 18s State Academy in 2017. In 12 games for the Thunder, Tucker averaged 15 possessions, five marks and two tackles, with his best games coming against East Perth (26 possessions and nine marks), and Subiaco (17 possessions and seven marks). While in four games for the Western Australia Under 18s, he averaged 11 possessions and three marks, with his best performance coming against Vic Country (15 possessions and five marks).
- Overhead marking
- Kicking out of defence
- Reading of the play
In 2017, Tucker made a name for himself as an intercept marking machine, similar to Fremantle young gun Luke Ryan. Like Ryan, Tucker always backs his judgement to take a mark rather than spoil, and as such he wins the ball back for his team. Once he has the ball in his hands, Tucker is a sound decision-maker with excellent foot skills, making him one of the most effective rebounders from the back half. His ability to read the play aids not only his intercept marking ability, but also lends to Tucker’s sound awareness and decision making when coming out of defence – particularly by foot.
Despite being a better ‘third’ defender, Tucker has shown an ability to beat his opponent one-on-one. His reading of the play, understanding of where to position himself, and ability to use his strength are all factors in how he beat his direct opponent. Given his size at just under 190cm, Tucker may find himself intercepting less, and rather being attributed to a direct opponent at the next level since he can compete in the tussle.
What also makes Tucker an attractive defensive prospect is his ability to play on tall or small defenders. At the Under-18 level, he has the height to match it with the key position forwards, but also has the speed to match it with smaller forwards.
- Match fitness
Obviously through no fault of his own, unfortunately Tucker did his ACL after round one this year, and as such clubs will be doing their due diligence on how his knee will hold up. However, according to Peel Thunder’s Talent Manager John Deitz, “the way Durak has thrown himself into his rehab has been absolutely first class and a real example of resilience and professionalism for the other boys in the squad.” From this it is clear to AFL clubs that Tucker is a true professional and should thrive in a professional environment.
The only other query on Tucker is his size. He only weighs just above 75 kilograms and as such could be monstered by the key forwards in the AFL. His versatility should allow him to still make an impact in whatever role he is needed though, which is a handy attribute to say the least. A big pre-season should see him bulk up enough to handle the pressure and play the roles that suit him best.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 50+
Durak Tucker is one of the premium defensive prospects in this year’s draft. He is strong overhead, reads the game exceptionally well and has the ability to play on tall and small opponents, which would make him a valuable all-round defensive pick up should a team call out his name on draft night. Plenty of players have come back from serious injuries in their top age years to have a real crack at the big time, and Tucker could well be the next in line.
Under 18s Championships