Kurt Tippett's first training session with Swans
Boom recruit Kurt Tippett meets his new teammates the day after he was drafted to the AFL premiers. Photo: Anthony Johnson
KURT TIPPETT knows he must win the respect of his new teammates but if Sydney are as accommodating behind closed doors as they are in front of the cameras the controversial forward will know he has arrived with a clean slate.
If there are any misgivings among the players at the recruitment of the 25-year-old it was not evident on Wednesday as the club unveiled the star forward they hope will provide the sufficient improvement required to defend their premiership next season.
The tight-knit Swans used captain Jarrad McVeigh to formally welcome Tippett, who has become public enemy No.1 in Adelaide after his messy departure from the club, before the former Crow's first training session with his new teammates.
''We want to improve as a group, just because we won the premiership doesn't mean we don't want to get better,'' McVeigh said. ''We see Kurt as a long-term player for this football club, we're rapt to have him on board.''
Tippett, believed to be on a four-year deal worth as much as $3.6million, will have to wait until round 12 at the earliest before he can show his worth to the club on the field.
By then he will have had nearly six months on the track to impress the Swans, whose unofficial ''no dickheads'' policy has helped cultivate a team culture the envy across the competition.
''We've got a set of behaviours we like to live by and we'll go through all that sort of stuff in the next few months,'' McVeigh said.
''All the boys that come through you want to earn the respect of your peers, that's what you want in footy, and you do it by training hard, doing all the right things and when game day comes you look after your mate.''
The Swans were able to claim this year's flag despite lacking an established focal point in attack and Tippett, who still managed to kick 39 goals in a season many regarded as disappointing, has the credentials to fill this void.
''We need to boost our big guys department in the forward line and ruck and we see Kurt as one of those players,'' McVeigh said. ''We know the way he plays, we know he trains hard and works hard and he'll earn the players' trust the way he goes about it the next few months.''
While several Swans have already turned heads with the impressive condition in which they have returned to training, Tippett has also not wasted his time in limbo.
The 202-centimetre behemoth kept himself in shape through his own personal trainer and also trained with Gold Coast club Southport.
Many in South Australia had expected Tippett to return home to Queensland but he said moving to Sydney was the ''perfect fit'' for him.
''It's a great city and the team's very, very successful and well respected,'' Tippett said. ''I thought that was where I wanted to put myself and the environment that I thought I could play my best football in.''
Tippett described the concussion problems that dogged the second half of the past season as a ''non-issue'', and said the expectation to produce the goods and justify his lofty price tag would not affect him.
''I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform anyway so I don't think anyone's expectations can be higher than my own,'' Tippett said.
''I feel pretty comfortable coming in. They're a terrific group from what I hear and what I've learnt from being here a short time.''
Unfortunately for the game's marketers, Sydney play Adelaide in round 11 at AAMI Stadium - one week before Tippett completes his suspension.