Last roll of the dice for Jarrod Tuppen and St Albans

Jarrod Tuppen, right, shows his aerial supremacy. Picture Damian Visentini

St Albans’ ruckman Jarrod Tuppen is a great player to have on your side.

The unassuming 26-year-old is a key reason the Saints still have a heartbeat going into the final round of the WRFL division 1.

The big man has rucked one-out for most of the season and done so fearlessly and without query.

“He’s a warrior,” Saints’ coach Fab Carelli told Star Weekly.

“He’s one of those blokes who competes hard all the time.

“He’s your bullocking type, and you wouldn’t want to get in his way.”

St Albans has come like a bolt from the blue to challenge for a finals berth on the last day of the season.

The Saints have won their past four games and by massive margins against quality opposition to be in the hunt for fifth.

If they are to make the finals, they need to bring down the biggest, meanest side in the competition on Saturday, three-peat premiers Deer Park.

“It’s a bit of a bugger having the bye this week with the momentum we’ve got,” Tuppen said.

“I reckon the way we’re travelling at the moment, we’re every chance of matching it with any side.

“We’re a good chance to knock them off in the last round and, hopefully, sneak into the finals.”

Tuppen will again be at the forefront for St Albans. He will ruck for 90 per cent of the game, with one or two others lending a helping hand when he needs a break.

It might seem like a chore, but Tuppen relishes the extra workload, which he is better prepared for this season after a big pre-season.

He also loves the battles he is having with quality big men across the league.

“In the past few years, I haven’t been able to get my body right, on the fitness side of it,” he said.

“I put in a better pre-season, so I’m enjoying a lot more time on the ball, especially now one-out in the ruck.

“I’m looking forward to the challenges every week.

“The only way you’re going to better yourself is if you go up against the best ruckmen in the comp.”

Tuppen started his career with North Sunshine, but moved to St Albans in his late teens because of North’s inability to field under-16s at the time.

The Deer Park forklift driver has not looked back since making the move.

“It’s going on 10 years now that I’ve been at the club,” Tuppen said.

“It’s just the atmosphere that I like.

“The older generation of supporters are very welcoming.

“I can’t say anything wrong about the football club.”