Kurt Tippett's sudden retirement on Monday afternoon shocked many, but came as no surprise to coach John Longmire.
Tippett ended his 178-game career on Monday, after deciding he would be unable to return to his best after a recent ankle reconstruction.
The ruckman battled through recurring ankle injuries in 2017, since suffering the first against the Bulldogs in Round 2.
Despite having three years left to run on his contract, Longmire wasn't blindsided when Tippett announced his retirement.
"We understood it was on the radar at the end of last year," he said on Tuesday.
"It's a big decision for anyone to make and we knew once he had the ankle reconstruction that it was going to be a big challenge to go through the whole rehab process again to get back and play.
"You underestimate the mental challenges you have when you do that year on year and he's had a few of those over the journey.
"People don't understand how tough it was for him last year, he hurt his ankle in round two and had to play the whole season under pretty severe duress."
Fortunately for the Swans and Kurt Tippett, his injury wasn't career ending, allowing both parties to negotiate a reduced figure on his payout.
“We won’t have to carry his salary for the full term of his three years remaining,” Harley told SEN radio.
“He was contracted for three years prior to that so it certainly won’t be that.”
“Injuries have played a part in his decision,” Harley said.
“He had a full ankle reconstruction last year. There are strict definitions around what constitutes career-ending injuries. It means you aren’t able to play and that isn’t what’s happened to Kurt.”
Had it been a career-ending injury, the Swans would have been forced to honour the full amount of his remaining contract, carrying it through the salary cap.
While Harley wouldn't comment on the payout figure or timeline for payment, The Telegraph believes that the club is committed to heavily front-ending the payment this year.
“Any contract negotiations are confidential between the player, his management and the club,” Harley said.
“He was a contracted player at the time so we had to work our way through that. It’s still pretty raw, we haven’t sat down and worked out what this means for the longer perspective. Kurt is 200cm and players like him don’t grow on trees. We’ve got a hole in our list now and clearly he won’t be playing this year.”
While the Swans won't be able to replace Tippett this season, changes in the Rookie list made last year mean the Swans can play one of their rookie-listed players without upgrading them to the senior list.
It leaves the Swans short on big men, with Sam Naismith the clear first choice, and Callum Sinclair battling with Darcy Cameron for the second ruck/forward position.
Athletic youngster Joel Amartey was added to the club's rookie list last season and looks to have a bright future, but will need time to develop in the NEAFL.
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