From: Guildford Grammar School/University Blues/Ballarat
Number: 23 (1957-1962)
Statistical categories led:
Most goals in jumper 23
Born in Victorian, Tunbridge went to Western Australia when he was young and played his early football there before returning to Victoria, where he was a two time interstate player for the Amateur competition. He continued his career in Ballarat after moving there to work as a teacher. Tunbridge appeared in a Collingwood practice match in 1956, and almost every club in the competition sought his services that year but as he'd already been appointed coach at Ballarat he decided to stay there.
The 25-year-old Tunbridge finally moved to the city in 1957 and signed with Melbourne. Ballarat initially refused his clearance but relented in time for him to play in Round 1. He accepted a car from a supporter group, but otherwise played as an amateur. Even though Tunbridge had to play with two fingers taped because of a previous dislocation, he easily stepped into senior company. By the end of his first season he had played for Victoria, been voted Best First Year Player and won a premiership.
Tunbridge only missed two games in six years and had a fine career for somebody who started in the VFL so late. He played his football as an amateur and claimed expenses only for his travel back and forth from Ballarat and a meat pie before the game. He was renowned for skipping match preparation and showing up 20 minutes before the bounce, often carrying his free pie. In his first season he travelled to Melbourne from Ballarat once a week for training, then for matchday.