To borrow a line from a movie, fate it seems, is not without a sense of irony. It wasn't long ago that Kurt Tippett stunned us all, announcing his immediate retirement from the game less than 12 months after extending with the club to 2020.
Retiring from the game was a kindness his body needed, regularly battling ankle injuries in his 5 years with the club. While the announcement surprised most, it didn't catch Longmire or the senior coaching panel off guard, going as far to say that it was on the cards.
Given the paucity of tall players and options in the ruck, one can be forgiven for looking at Tippett and considering him as not only a viable option, but as a saviour. It's an understandable proposition, given Callum Sinclair is already hobbled with an ankle injury and will miss tonights' pre-season match against the Giants, while Sam Naismith will miss the season having ruptured his ACL on Wednesday.
As Tom Harley said, Kurt can still "technically" play for the Swans, given he's on the senior player list. But with a lengthy recovery time from ankle reconstruction and the players' own misgivings about performance and recovery, it'll be a serious uphill battle to get him back into the team. Even then, it's not like we'll see him anytime soon, or even before the mid-season bye.
Only an AFL miracle intervention can give the Swans hope in the ruck this season. The Swans will have to make do with the players they have and ignore the talk and hype of possible mid-season drafts and player loans. The lack of options could be the tonic Sinclair and Cameron needs, only time will tell.
The situation presents Callum Sinclair with the best opportunity he's going to have to put his hand up for the no. 1 ruck role. The bigger but less experienced Darcy Cameron has his first chance to prove his worth tonight against the Giants, and a good performance will go a long way towards claiming the first ruck position. The Swans have other options waiting in the wings in Aliir and Reid, but the depth quickly falls away when you're looking at young, inexperienced and undersized rookies Amartey and Pink.
Losing Sam Naismith after Tippett is a significant blow to the Swans' season, but its not the death knell. If there's one things the Swans are capable of, it's bouncing back from early season injuries and adversity. We'll know a bit more about the Swans' game plan after the Giants pre-season match tonight, while Callum Sinclair will return to the side ahead of round 1.
Right then, the Swans take on the Giants tonight in their final JLT Series game, and it'll be the second clash between the sides this year. There's another two to go during, and who knows what could happen in the finals.
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