Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Desmond Vincent Tuddenham

Known as
Des Tuddenham

29 January 1943 (age 79)

Place of birth
Ross Creek, VIC (3351)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 110d
Last game: 34y 70d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 84 kg

Senior clubs
Collingwood; Essendon

Jumper numbers
Collingwood: 30, 1, 8, 3
Essendon: 8

Recruited from
Collingwood (1972); Essendon (1976)

State of origin

Family links
Paul Tuddenham (Son)Danny Frawley (Nephew)

Des Tuddenham

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
CollingwoodV/AFL1962-1971, 1976-19771822511.3864%16.153.543.5546

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

AFL: 7,378th player to appear, 263rd most games played, 171st most goals kickedCollingwood: 648th player to appear, 46th most games played, 20th most goals kickedEssendon: 799th player to appear, 271st most games played, 134th most goals kicked

Throughout his 251-game VFL career with Collingwood and Essendon, flame-haired Des Tuddenham's name was virtually a synonym for 'desperation and courage'. In essence, 'Tuddy' knew only one way to play the game, and that was with the utmost physicality and determination. Footballers are almost routinely referred to as 'tough', but in Des Tuddenham's case this would be an understatement; on numerous occasions he took to the field carrying injuries which would have seen lesser men spend the day at home in bed, but regardless of physical inconvenience, Tuddenham invariably produced performances that were at least serviceable. More often than not, of course, they were infinitely better than that.

Recruited from Ballarat YCW, Tuddenham made his Collingwood debut in 1962. Used mainly as a half forward flanker, his tear-through style and complete obliviousness to his own personal safety soon attracted rave reviews. His very presence on the field was often an inspiration to his team mates, and in 1966 the club hierarchy ratified this situation by making him team captain.

In 1970, Tuddenham was stood down by Collingwood after a pay dispute, and although he later resumed he was no longer captain. The Magpie hordes adored him anyway - "to many he was the embodiment of what Collingwood players must have been like in the club's greatest days"¹.

Tuddenham crossed to Essendon as captain-coach in 1972 and, although unable to steer the Bombers to a flag, he did at least manage to restore a measure of self-respect to a club that had finished second to last in both 1970 and 1971.

Des Tuddenham's heart was always essentially black and white, however, and in 1976 he hobbled 'home' - hobbled quite literally, having just recovered from a broken leg sustained while playing for Essendon the previous year. He spent the final two seasons of his playing career with the Woods, and in 1978 became non-playing coach of South Melbourne. When the Swans failed to make the finals, however, he was replaced by Ian Stewart. In 1988 he returned to coaching at VFA Second Division club Werribee when the got his side as far as the Preliminary Final.

Always a consummate team man - even the pay dispute in 1970 was more about morals than money - the biggest disappointment of Tuddenham's career was that, although he garnered numerous personal accolades and awards, he never got to play in a premiership side. He came agonisingly close - a four-point loss to Melbourne in 1964, a one-point defeat by St Kilda two years later, not to mention the unmitigated disaster of 1970 - but a runner-up is still a runner-up no matter what the margin of defeat.

The Collingwood Football Club was home to numerous champions during the 'lost era' of 1959 to 1989, and their failure to enjoy premiership success is highly unfortunate; in the case of Des Tuddenham, however, it is tantamount to injustice.

Author - John Devaney


1. The Encyclopedia of League Footballers by Jim Main and Russell Holmesby, page 443.


Full Points Footy Publications


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.