by Peter Blucher
Kurt Tippett has joined Queensland football’s AFL heartbreak club.
Tippett, a member of the Sydney Swans’ side beaten by the Western Bulldogs in Saturday’s grand final thriller at the MCG, is now one of four Queenslanders to have played in more than one premiership decider without a win.
St.Kilda pair Nick Riewoldt and Sam Gilbert head this list, with two losses and a draw from three grand finals in 2009-10.
Tippet, a member of the Sydney side beaten by Hawthorn in 2014, joins ex-Geelong defender Steven Handley on the second line, having played two grand finals for two losses.
Handley was on the losing side in 1994-95.
Tippett, one of the Swans better players in the 2014 premiership decider, played on Saturday still carrying the after-effects of a broken jaw suffered in week one of the finals.
He had match statistics of 17 hit-outs, 10 disposals (seven contested possessions), two clearances, two contested marks and five 1%ers.
Only Dane Rampe (9) and Jeremy Laidler (7) among his Sydney teammates had more 1%ers, while only Grundy (4) and Lance Franklin (3) had more contested marks. Only teammate Sam Naismith (21) had more hit-outs.
The crowd on Saturday of 99,981 was the biggest of Tippett’s 169-game career, surpassing the 99,460 of the 2014 grand final.
The grand final was Tippett’s 17th game of the year, putting him equal 15th on the 2016 list.
Geelong’s Zac Smith headed the list with 23 games (including two finals), followed on 22 games by Gilbert and his St.Kilda teammate David Armitage, and Fremantle’s Lee Spurr and Lachie Weller.
Then followed Gold Coast’s Jarrod Harbrow (21), Riewoldt (21), Richmond’s Shaun Hampson (20), St.Kilda’s Tom Hickey (20), Brisbane’s Dayne Zorko (20), Brisbane retiree Daniel Merrett (19), Gold Coast’s Alex Sexton (18), Port Adelaide’s Charlie Dixon (18) and Collingwood’s Josh Smith (18).
Brisbane’s Harris Andrews was level with Tippett on 17 games.
Tippett finished fifth on the Queensland goal-kicking list with 17 behind Riewoldt (41), Dixon (30), Zorko (23) and Collingwood’s Jesse White (23).
Zac Smith finished as the ‘winningest’ Queenslander of 2016 with 17 wins, followed by Tippett (12), Armitage (12), Gilbert (12), Riewoldt (11), Sydney’s Aliir Aliir (11) and Hickey (10).
Armitage was Queensland’s leading possession-winner in the AFL in 2016 with 478 from Zorko (471), Riewoldt (436), Spurr (399), Harbrow (391), Josh Smith (374), Lachie Weller (340) and Gilbert (330).