Players from the country have formed the nucleus of Western Australian football talent over many years, most notably since the fifties, when distance became less of a hurdle with travel becoming faster. There have been many star players from the bush, however, who have been forced to cut short promising careers because of farm and other obligations, and the extra burden of the constant travel. Every league club could name at least one they lost for these reasons. One of these was Kukerin farmer, Allen Mycock. Together with John McIntosh, Mycock was part of the most effective ruck combination in the league for three seasons between 1963 and 65, playing seven State games in that short period, and was part of Claremont's 1964 last to first premiership win over East Fremantle. Allen Mycock started his football career at Narrogin Agricultural College, where a classmate was Dale Edwards, who in later years was to become a teammate at Claremont. “Dale was a very classy centreman,” recalled Allen. “He was a clever footballer, who had a lot to do with our premiership success in 1964.” Playing at Kukerin with the seniors at sixteen, mainly as a ruckman/defender, Mycock racked up four fairest and best awards before his twenty first birthday. Local football legend Joe Pearce had connections at Swan Districts and tried desperately to get Mycock to Bassendean Oval, but despite the respect and admiration he had for Pearce, Mycock weighed up the pros and cons and considered that with the presence of players like Slater, Litterick, and Castledine, and the overall player strength of the reigning WANFL premiers, his chances of a game didn't appear rosy, so, being a Claremont supporter, he decided on the Tigers. After looking at the boy from Kukerin in the scratch matches, coach Peter Pianto selected him for the first game of the 1963 season, and from that day he was never out of the side. “Except for one occasion when the plane couldn't land because the weather was too rough,”Allen quipped. The Claremont club would fly both Mycock and Ian Brayshaw, who was a cadet journalist with a country newspaper at the time, to Perth and back each weekend. “It was dubbed the Flying Tiger, and I got called Biggles for a while,” laughed Allen. Mycock made an instant impression on the WANFL. At six foot three and fourteen and a half stone, with a fitness and hardness honed by hard farm work and shearing, and an athleticism resulting from a strict fitness programme, he was able to use his body well in the ruck and marking contests. An old style “tap” ruckman, he was the perfect partner for the talented McIntosh. “When I could get him to have a spell,” Allen laughed. Mycock credits forward Ian Brewer with his development as a productive forward when resting in attack. “Ian was a terrific mentor to a young player,” he told us. “His coaching on the art of playing in the forward line was invaluable to me.” Allen went on to kick seventy two goals from sixty seven games in league football. 1964 was a big year for Mycock and Claremont. He was selected to play for Western Australia and the Tigers won a fairytale flag. “It was a great side, with a top coach,(Jimmy Conway), and, although it had much the same personnel as the one that finished last in 63, the addition of Edwards,the return of Kevin Clune, plus the extra year of experience under the younger players' belts were all significant,” he said. After scraping into the four, and looking beaten in the grand final, the come from behind win over East Fremantle was the highlight of his career. After another good year in 1965, soured by East Fremantle's revenge win over the Tigers in the preliminary final, Allen Mycock looked set for a long and distinguished time at the top. However, after two games in 1966, and having been selected in the Hobart Carnival squad, his career was over. “I had just bought a new farm. Our family have been farming in the Kukerin area since the early nineteen hundreds. I love farming, and I had always intended to go back farming, but when the decision had to be made, it was very hard. It was disappointing to have to give it up,”he said. “ The Claremont club was very good to me. I will always be in their debt.” Mycock took over the role of playing coach at Kukerin, picking up another fairest and best award, and became involved with specialist coaching outside of the local league, concentrating on marking and kicking at schools and the Agricultural College. He has continued his community involvement to this day, in the field of youth care, and is Narrogin chairman of Youthcare. Allen nominated former East Fremantle player, Tony Casserley, as a tough opponent. “Tony was more of a utility player, but did some ruck work at times, and I always had strife with him. Terry Williams, of Subiaco, was another hard one,” he said. His ruck partner, John McIntosh, was the best he played with. “Football was a big part of my life, and I appreciate the people who made it so good to me,” he summed up. “It's always a buzz to run into them.” Allen Mycock was only on the WANFL stage for a short time, but he made a huge impression on the football world. He is still remembered by football fans in general as a top ruckman of his day, and by Claremont supporters in particular as part of a dynamic ruck duo in a memorable period of the Tigers history.
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