Boom Sydney recruit Kurt Tippett says the Swans are the perfect fit as he prepares for the challenge of missing the first half of the 2013 AFL season with his new club.
Tippett’s two-month campaign to play for the premiers ended in success on Tuesday when he was taken by Sydney in the pre-season draft.
He will be suspended for the first 11 games of 2013, following an investigation into draft and salary cap breaches by his former club Adelaide.
Forward-ruckman Tippett trained with Sydney for the first time on Wednesday.
“It’s very exciting to be here in Sydney, after a long off-season, a few little challenges,” Tippett said, while acknowledging there was a time he feared he wouldn’t be able to make his way to the Swans.
“I look forward to playing football, settling in, training hard and preparing myself well and earning the guys’ trust over the summer.
“It’s been a challenge for myself and my family but I’m happy to put that all behind me now.”
Tippett said the focus at his new club was to develop a role, and help the team to improve as well as getting better himself.
“I’m getting faster and stronger each year so I’ll look to improve that and there’s some things I also want to improve like my goalkicking and my marking,” Tippett said.
He was philosophical about having to sit out so many games at the start of the year.
“It’s going to be a challenge but they are the cards we’ve been dealt and we’ll make the most of it,” Tippett said.
“We’ll sit down with the coaches and the performance staff and we’ll work out a program going forward.”
He said the spate of head knocks he suffered last season were now a non-issue.
“Obviously I missed a few games with the concussion, but came back and was able to play the way I wanted to in the end, so I’m happy that won’t be an issue going forward,” Tippett said.
Tippett wasn’t concerned about any external expectations and pressure to perform generated by his lucrative contract.
“I set myself pretty high standards and I’m just worried about living up to my own standards,” Tippett said.
Ironically, the last game of his ban will be the away clash with Adelaide and his first could be back in that city against Port Adelaide, but Tippett downplayed both situations.
If Sydney don’t meet the Crows in the finals, he would not play against them before 2014.
Sydney co-captain Jarrad McVeigh viewed Tippett as a welcome and necessary addition to the Swans’ big-man stocks.