By Liam Detering
The Sydney Swans have showed why they fought so hard to lure Kurt Tippett away from Adelaide, as the former Southport junior has repaid their faith by starring in his eight games since returning from his much-publicised suspension.
Tippett has now kicked 27 goals from his eight games including two six goal hauls against the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood and has incredibly become Sydney’s leading goal-kicker for the year.
This stunning form since returning from suspension has seen Tippett off-set the loss of key personnel for Sydney including Adam Goodes, Sam Reid and Lewis Roberts-Thomson.
Tippett, who only turned to football in 2005 while playing in the AFLQ independent schools competition, rose quickly to play a starring role for Queensland at the 2006 National championships before being taken at pick 32 by the Adelaide Crows.
Since then, Tippett’s career has blossomed as he has used every ounce of his athleticism to become one of the AFL’s most dominant key forwards.
Tippett’s imposed ban may have come at a good time, after being struck down with a series of concussions throughout 2012.
However, after serving his penance for his part in the Adelaide contract debacle, Tippett looked set to make an immediate impact for the Swans.
Ahead of his first game, Tippett said “I’m really excited about getting out there and doing my bit for the side.
“I had a training program written out for me and it was building up to this stage and it’s all gone to plan. I’m right where I want to be.”
Fast-forward two months, and Tippett looms as the key to Sydney’s hopes in achieving back to back premierships.
In his eight games since returning, Tippett has averaged the second most marks inside 50 and the sixth most contested marks per game of anyone in the AFL.
While there appears to be concerns that the Swans have become too Tippett-conscious since his return, Sydney coach John Longmire denied that it is a concern.
“If he didn’t kick goals I’d be asked the same question – is it a concern he isn’t kicking goals,” Longmire said.
So with Goodes, Reid and Roberts-Thomson all at least two weeks away from returning, Tippett will have a key role in ensuring that Sydney locks up a top four berth and secures the coveted double chance.