Contrasting performances leaves the way back hidden for Swans on the outer

Every team that plays in the finals eventually has a hard luck story, with Ben McGlynn, Jeremy Laidler and Aliir Allir among those for the Swans in recent seasons.

This season, another hard luck story is brewing with big man Kurt Tippett firmly on the outer after the combination of Sam Naismith and Callum Sinclair worked superbly.

Both players dominated their respective opponents in the Elimination Final win on Saturday afternoon, Sinclair in particular giving Hurley a bath in the first half, while Kurt Tippett struggled to impose himself in the NEAFL grand final later on that night.

Coach John Longmire revealed in the Swans' post match conference that the West Australian big man got the nod because he was better prepared for the final, after Tippett sat out the last quarter in the round 23 win against Carlton.

"Kurt trained on Thursday and got through quite well but we were going into a final, and we needed to make sure everyone was up for the full 120 minutes' Longmire said.

"So that played into it a little bit, and we had a role with Sinclair which was a key role for us which he did really well.

"We'll see how our reserves go and we'll pick the best team for next week."

Naismith dominated the ruck, winning 33 hit outs to 44, collected ten disposals to three - eight of them contested - and six clearances, four of them from the centre bounce.

Meanwhile, Callum Sinclair dominated Michael Hurley in the first half, taking 4 marks in the first quarter alone and kicking two goals. "Chief" finished with three goals, and nine marks for the match, four of them contested.

Longmire praised the 27-year-old who's been a revelation this season.

"He was pretty good and certainly provided a target for us in our front half," he said.

"He competed strongly in the air which is what we wanted him to do and I thought his game was really solid."

While Sam Naismith and Callum Sinclair performed superbly on Saturday afternoon, the same cannot be said for Kurt Tippett.

A strong performance would have thrust him firmly into the minds of the selectors ahead of the Geelong game, instead he was average at best, regularly beaten in the ruck by younger opponents and having almost no impact around the ground.

Meanwhile defender Lewis Melican may be rueing his quad tightness after the Swans performed admirably in his absence.

With Geelong to come this weekend and possible matches against Adelaide and Richmond, GWS or West Coast, he may find his chances of returning to the team slimming every week.

Richmond and Geelong don't have the tall forward line to trouble the Swans, whereas he could be brought back into the team for an Adelaide preliminary final, should the Swans make it that far.

With the Swans desperate for speed, there was no hesitation to return Harry Cunningham to the side after this extended absence.

Although originally named for the NEAFL Grand Final, he performed well in the elimination final after coming in as an emergency and has certainly put forward his case to remain in the side.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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