21 September 1948 (age 75)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 277d
Last game: 25y 337d
Height and weight
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Peter Ruscuklic (Brother)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
AFL: 7,843rd player to appear, 1,973rd most games played, 379th most goals kickedFitzroy: 842nd player to appear, 94th most games played, 21st most goals kickedCarlton: 843rd player to appear, 792nd most games played, 317th most goals kicked
Born in Germany, the multilingual Alex Ruscuklic was one of two brothers to play in the VFL. Younger brother Peter played briefly with Fitzroy and Geelong in the mid 1970s before going on to greater things as a free-scoring full forward with East Sydney.
Alex’s arrival at Fitzroy in 1966 was surrounded by controversy: he was cleared to the Lions by his Latrobe Valley Football League club Morwell, but the Latrobe Valley League refused to sanction the transfer. In a sequence of events which attracted enormous media attention at the time Fitzroy took the case to the VFL which ultimately endorsed the clearance, ruling that such matters were of concern purely to the two clubs involved and that the LVFL had had no business interfering. Ruscuklic was thus free to embark on his VFL career, but it was not to be the last time he was the subject of controversy.
While his uninhibited determination and spectacular aerial ability (he was the top mark taker in the VFL in 1971) made him a popular figure among the Fitzroy faithful he repeatedly locked horns with officialdom, particularly as represented by the club committee. After several well-publicised disagreements things finally came to a head just prior to the start of the 1974 season when Ruscuklic was suspended by the committee and, although an uneasy truce was concocted which saw Ruscuklic play the opening game of the season for the Roys, relationships quickly soured again resulting in the hasty arrangement of a transfer to Carlton where he saw out the remainder of what was to be his final league season. He then rounded off his top level senior career by playing briefly with Preston in the VFA.
In 108 games with Fitzroy Alex Ruscuklic amassed 189 goals and was the club’s top goalkicker in 1970 with 49. In nine games with Carlton during 1974 he added a further 20 goals. He was also Fitzroy’s leading vote recipient in the 1971 Brownlow Medal with 16, just five shy of eventual winner Ian Stewart. With his blond hair and gravity defying aerodynamics Ruscuklic was seldom less than eye-catching but one imagines that his continual run-ins with authority would almost certainly have undermined his effectiveness.
Author - John Devaney