Fremantle Dockers midfielder Darcy Tucker hopes for COVID ‘end game’ in WA as family reunions cancelled

Headshot of Braden Quartermaine
Braden QuartermaineThe West Australian
Fremantle’s Darcy Tucker is one of a number of non-West Australian Dockers who have been affected by WA’s hard border.
Camera IconFremantle’s Darcy Tucker is one of a number of non-West Australian Dockers who have been affected by WA’s hard border. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

Fremantle’s big cohort of players from interstate have been left devastated by the cancellation of WA’s planned border opening on February 5.

With the footballers having already had to give up their annual trip home for Christmas, the club had planned to give them a week off in early February so they could travel to see family and return to Perth quarantine-free after February 5.

With those plans now scrapped, Horsham product Darcy Tucker is one of a big number of Dockers who don’t know when they will next see their families.

“Obviously as a Victorian it’s pretty tough and I’m a bit upset,” Tucker said.

“I know a lot of us boys were planning to head back there, not just Victorians but South Australians and every interstate player.

“I was booked to go on the 31st for six days. It’s upsetting not being able to see my family. But obviously we back the WA government in and their goal is to protect the community and we’re all for that as well.

“Just hopefully there’s an end game to this sometime soon. But there’s not much we can do about it and we just have to push on.

“I’m sure we’ll all handle that well and get around each other, because a lot of us are in the same position.”

The border decision threatens to spark another season of fixture chaos for Fremantle and West Coast.

Even if exemptions are negotiated for visiting teams to enter WA and play at Optus Stadium, the WA clubs will have to regularly travel to States with COVID circulating and if a player tests positive they could be barred from returning home.

Tucker was already preparing for the prospect of interstate hubs in 2022.

Luke Ryan, Sean Darcy and Darcy Tucker are all Victorian Fremantle players who will be impacted by the hard border.
Camera IconLuke Ryan, Sean Darcy and Darcy Tucker are all Victorian Fremantle players who will be impacted by the hard border. Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

“It is a reality. We already have spoken about that a bit – be prepared for anything,” he said.

“I feel like the last few seasons have thrown that at us and we’ve sort of been able to handle every situation the best we can.

“I’m sure we will touch on it today, what it means for us as a football club. It is a reality and we just have to push on and work through it all.”

The border rules mean Fremantle players and staff are unable to travel to Victoria for the funeral of former player Harley Balic on Saturday.

Tucker was part of the same draft intake as both Balic, who died earlier this month, and Shane Yarran, who died in 2018. Tucker (pick 27) and Balic (pick 38) were the Dockers’ first two selections.

“I was obviously extremely close to Harley,” Tucker said.

“I knew him before we got drafted and we got drafted the same year together. I lived with him for the first year as well.

“He was like a brother to me in the first year here. Really hard to hear, but I just really feel for his family and close friends.

“He was a loved kid here. He put a smile on everyone’s faces and his smile was really contagious as well. I loved being around him, so it’s very sad.”

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