Kurt Tippett at a Swans training session. Photo: Getty Images
Sydney coach John Longmire has confirmed prized recruit Kurt Tippett is ''a strong chance'' to be put straight into the senior team without a game in the reserves when the Swans resume after their bye.
Tippett has completed his 11-match suspension for breaching draft and salary rules with Adelaide, but cannot play at any level this weekend because the Swans have byes in seniors and reserves.
Tippett therefore cannot play until round 13, when he would line up against Port Adelaide - meaning he would play at his old stamping ground of AAMI Stadium - if the Swans opt to play him in the seniors in his first game.
''He's a strong chance to play next week,'' Longmire said on Tuesday.
''He's been training really well … we'll make a decision on him next week.''
Longmire said Tippett had been putting in ''a lot of work'' during his absence, with the Swans planning match practice on Saturday during their weekend off - as they did during the break last year.
While there has been discussion about whether Tippett's return could push a tall forward or ruck out of the side, the former Crow's prospects of an immediate return are enhanced by the unavailability of ruckman Shane Mumford, who is out for three to four weeks with a broken cheekbone, while key forward Sam Reid is rated only ''a small chance'' to play against Port, having torn his left quad against Collingwood in round nine.
The Swans, who have strengthened their premiership credentials with a treble of imposing victories over Collingwood, Essendon and the Crows, will be adding Tippett to arguably the deepest midfield in the competition, rivalling Hawthorn and Geelong for pole position in the flag race.
They may also regain Lewis Jetta, who missed Sydney's massive 77-point victory over Adelaide due to injury.
Longmire had earlier indicated Tippett would be nursed in his return, playing as a permanent forward. Tippett can play as the back-up ruckman, though his imminent availability could create some selection posers for Sydney when Mumford and Reid both return, bearing in mind Adam Goodes also spends much of his time as a target up forward.
Tippett joined the Swans via the pre-season draft - essentially for no draft cost - as an uncontracted player on a four-year deal worth more than $800,000 a season, having chosen to leave Adelaide in an exit that prompted an investigation that led to his suspension and the Crows being penalised by losing draft picks for two seasons and a fine.