Tippett must earn his spot back in Swans best side: Longmire

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    Misfiring Sydney ruckman Kurt Tippett is feeling fitter and playing better but the dumped star won’t be given any special treatment in his battle for an AFL recall.

    Tippett excelled in the seconds last weekend, having been dropped after an underwhelming performance against Hawthorn in round 10.

    Swans big men Sam Naismith and Callum Sinclair dominated in his absence against Western Bulldogs, winning the hitouts 65-16.

    Sydney coach John Longmire wouldn’t reveal his hand on Thursday morning when asked about Tippett’s chances of facing Richmond at the MCG on Saturday.

    Longmire expected Tippett’s stint in the seconds to be short-lived, noting the club was confident the 30-year-old would produce “his best form pretty quickly”.

    But the 2012 premiership coach also made it clear Tippett, who joined the Swans on a lucrative multi-million deal in 2012, would not be gifted anything.

    “Kurt will play when we think he can help us win, like our other two ruckmen and like every other player in the team,” Longmire said.

    “He just has to work on a few things and make sure he has a real presence in the air and on the ground.

    “It’s pretty basic. He certainly improved in those areas last week and I’m sure he will continue to improve, whether that’s this week in the seniors or not.

    “There’s nothing wrong with his attitude. His attitude is always really good.”

    Tippett started his career in the red and white by serving an 11-game suspension for his role in Adelaide salary cap breaches.

    A series of injuries followed, meaning Tippett is in the midst of his fifth season at the SCG but has only played 70 games for the Swans.

    The stop-start narrative continued this year in the form of ankle and hip setbacks.

    “He’s certainly feeling a bit better,” Longmire said.

    “Like all players, you need to manage them.

    “He’s certainly been able to put the training program together. We’re confident he’ll be able to be in his best form pretty quickly.

    “We’re confident he will be back in the senior team pretty shortly.”

    The Swans will face a familiar foe in Saturday’s ruck battle.

    Toby Nankervis will face Sydney for the first time since being traded by the club, having since played a key role in helping Richmond claim a top-four spot.

    “He’s been in fantastic form. At the back end of last year he was in pretty good form as well,” Longmire said.

    “We were keen to keep Toby last year but we understood the opportunities that Richmond could offer were a bit greater.”

    Meanwhile, Longmire confirmed former co-captain Kieren Jack (dislocated fingers) will be fit to face the Tigers.

    © AAP 2017

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