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Sydney Swans push forward as Kurt Tippett's absence leaves gaping hole

Kurt Tippett has been ruled out of games against top-of-the-table Port Adelaide this Saturday and Richmond but the Swans do not believe his injury is overly serious.

Kurt Tippett has been ruled out of games against top-of-the-table Port Adelaide this Saturday and Richmond but the Swans do not believe his injury is overly serious. Photo: Getty Images

Sydney's red-hot forward line will be restructured this week to cover for Kurt Tippett, who had been a bigger focal point than Lance Franklin leading up to the injury that will sideline him for at least a fortnight.

Tippett underwent surgery on Tuesday after scans revealed the forward had damaged the meniscus in his knee against Gold Coast on the weekend.

He has been ruled out of games against top-of-the-table Port Adelaide this Saturday and Richmond but the Swans do not believe his injury is overly serious.

Tippett missed the first seven games of the season with tendonitis in his right knee; his latest injury is to his left knee.

"He's going to be missing the next two weeks," Swans coach John Longmire said. "He's got a slight tear in his meniscus so he has a minor operation to trim the cartilage up a bit.

"He'll miss two games and should be right in three weeks' time. Gibbsy [Nathan Gibbs] our doctor suggested it was not a bad result.

"Structurally, his knee is fine."

Longmire said Tippett could resume weights training as early as Wednesday and start running again next week with a view to return for the clash with Greater Western Sydney in round 15.

Tippett will leave a massive hole in the Swans' forward line, which has flourished in the past month with him, Franklin and Adam Goodes playing together.

Although Tippett's return in round eight is not the sole reason the Swans have been in such hot form, his importance to the team cannot be understated.

Stats from Champion Data show Tippett, with an average of 14.3 a game, has been the target for more of Sydney's forward-50 entries than Franklin (10.7) from rounds eight to 11.

As a pair, they have been kicked to 25 times per game inside 50, well above the next most sought after duo of Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling from West Coast.

Tippett's absence could have ramifications for Franklin, who has clearly benefited from having the former Adelaide star in the team although the dual Coleman medallist has recorded bigger numbers across the four games they have played together.

From rounds one to seven, Franklin averaged two goals, 3.33 scoring shots and 13 disposals per game. Since Tippett returned from injury, those numbers have risen to 3.5 goals and 18 disposals per game.

Sydney's average score has also soared from 86 to nearly 120 during the same period.

Tippett's injury has created an opening in the 22 for Mike Pyke, who played 95 minutes in the reserves and emerged unscathed from his first match in five weeks after a hamstring strain.

Longmire said Pyke, a premiership ruckman who kicked 28 goals last year, appeared the "really obvious" replacement but it had not been rubber-stamped.

"That will be strongly considered," he said.

Another option would be to deploy Sam Reid closer to goal. Reid, who kicked three goals against Gold Coast last week, has played across half-forward, in defence and even in the ruck at times this season.

"To have that flexibility in the team with a bloke his size, speed and discipline is really important," Longmire said.

"We like the way he's going. We know he's got improvement in him but we're really pleased with him."

One silver lining Tippett's injury could bring is it will force Longmire to create another forward set-up, which could come in handy in the finals.

"We've tried to add more players through the midfield mix, inside the midfield, through the wings, half-forward and the key positions are no different," Longmire said.

"We want to be a team that's flexible and able to adapt. You need to do that to get through a season and give different looks to the opposition."

Longmire expected Ben McGlynn and Luke Parker to be fit after injury scares against the Suns, but Tom Mitchell, who had been starring in the reserves, will miss two weeks after rolling an ankle.

Although he had hurt the same ankle that was operated on last year, the injuries were not linked, Longmire said.

3 comments so far

  • All teams get injuries. The good ones have the depth to overcome them and the Swans certainly have a lot of depth and as premiership contenders they need to be able to show that.

    Commenter
    Mark
    Date and time
    June 11, 2014, 8:28AM
    • Lucky they bought Franklin then.

      Commenter
      JD
      Date and time
      June 11, 2014, 9:48AM
      • Shame Tippett not available for the Port game; he is certainly part of a less predictable attack with Goodes, Franklin and the runners Jack, Cunningham and Parker all capable of creating opportunities. This of course does not exclude the impact of Kennedy, Jetta, Malcevski, McGlynn et al. I think Sam Reid to take Tippett's place deep in the square and bring in Pike. Goodes is due for a big game despite solid performances [but quiet vs Gold Coast] and he always plays well against Port…. 8 goals a few years ago as a target forward. This will be close all day but the Swans even without Tippett have the capacity to get up. AND a word of praise for the work of the back six and the drive of the midfield who are the players setting up the forwards.

        Commenter
        B.W. from the Shire
        Location
        Cronulla
        Date and time
        June 11, 2014, 10:47AM

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