The enigma that has recently become the career of Kurt Tippett will soon rise to the surface yet again as he borders on the edge of selection in the upcoming Pre-Season Draft.
With the delayed start to the 2013 season for the now former Adelaide Crow, courtesy of his 11-week suspension for his part in the Adelaide Football Club’s breach of the AFL player payment rules, the Sydney Swans and other clubs have a major decision to make as to whether they elect to draft Tippett, should he still be available when their pick in the draft arrives.
While Tippett left the Crows on understandably bad terms with his former teammates, should he be drafted to Sydney, the highly-regarded player culture at the Swans could well force Tippett into line.
Any prevailing negativity that Tippett possesses as well as his associated faults would not be tolerated by his potential teammates and he would be forced to adapt accordingly, for if he doesn’t perform what is expected of him, he may not be assured of a senior game even when he is eligible.
Understandably, his wage demands may create some resistance, but the Swans with their extra cost of living allowance are one for the few clubs that legitimately could wear Tippett’s high asking price without stretching the club’s financial resources too far.
Another factor that may sway the Swans is that Tippett is a talented key-marking forward, and he would offer the option of a second tall forward to assist Sam Reid and form a decisive two-pronged forward set up for the Swans goal-scoring structure for many years to come.
However, there are negatives of course, and the major one that plagues Kurt Tippett is that with his lengthy suspension for next season, he will be unable to justify the larger wage he is seeking and will not offer value for money for the Swans.
His toxic exit from the Crows, coupled with his method of telling his former Adelaide teammates of his departure from the club via text message, and the tale of how he originally would only consider a move from the Crows back to his native Queensland would also deliver trust issues with Tippett into the traditionally tight and trustworthy Swans playing group.
A negative that hasn’t been touched on too much is the high propensity he has to concussions and the ramifications of sustained head injury for his long-term career.
Three times in 2012, Tippett suffered head knocks that forced him out of the game, and his susceptibility to such injury does not bode well for his prospects in the future.
The risk that he may suffer a serious head knock that could force him prematurely out of the game has to be considered by the Swans and may severely cast doubt on the prospect of his selection.
Finally, given that the Swans were able to take out the ultimate prize in 2012, why they even would want to risk any changes to the playing group that are not necessary seems a little unclear.
One can understand the attraction of recruiting Tippett to a club that does need a high-priced key forward to assist them in climbing the ladder and challenging for a flag.
However, the Swans are already at the pinnacle, and the extra addition of Tippett and his associated baggage will create more trouble that he is worth. The money they would be spending on Tippett would be better served elsewhere, for example on the development of the club’s existing list and acquiring players that they can mould into the Sydney culture, one that has yielded two premierships in the last seven years.
Given the high profile end of his tenure at the Crows, the associated risk for his long-term playing future and his relationship to his fellow players, the cost of acquiring Tippett is one that is far too excessive for the Swans and they would be wise to decline his services and take the safer option of maintaining the status quo. After all, the Swans managed to reach the top by intelligent drafting and trading, and to pick up Tippett would not be necessary or even a smart recruiting decision for Sydney, given the negatives that are surrounding him.
The Swans would be wise to steer clear of a player that may have just burnt one too many bridges. The long-lasting success of Sydney hasn’t been built on paying egos high salaries, but focusing on development and beating the team aspect into their heads.