Kurt Tippett retires from Sydney Swans, effective immediately

Josh Elliott Editor

By Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor

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    Sydney Swans’ Kurt Tippett has retired from the AFL effective immediately due to persistent injury concerns.

    Tippett has battled a number of injury problems in recent years and according to the Swans website “the length of his recovery and doubts about being able to get back to his best, led to his decision to retire.”

    He played 74 matches for Sydney after joining the club at the end of the 2012 season, having previously played with the Adelaide Crows.

    In total Tippett played 178 AFL games and kicked 325 goals, winning leading goalkicker awards at Adelaide in 2010 and Sydney in 2013.

    However his best season came in 2009 when he kicked 55 goals for the Crows.

    He played in a preliminary final with Adelaide in 2012 and played in two losing grand finals with the Swans in 2014 and 2016.

    “It’s really tough to leave a game and a club which I really love, but the reality is that my body isn’t going to stand up to the rigors of professional football. As I’ve found out in the past 18 months or so, it’s impossible to play at the level you want without being fully fit,” Tippett said.

    “I want to thank the Swans and also the Crows for the opportunity to fulfil my dream to play and compete in the AFL. I would also like to thank my teammates and coaches, particularly John Longmire and Neil Craig, and the fans and supporters of our great game.

    “Last but not least I would like to thank my family and friends for their love and support over my career. As sad as I am that I won’t play at this level again, I look forward to transitioning into the next phase of my life.”

    Sam Jacobs Kurt Tippett Adelaide Crows Sydney Swans AFL 2016

    (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Tippett’s decision to join the Swans on a big-money contract at the end of 2012 was one of the more controversial episodes in the AFL in recent years, as it led to a revelation that he had been paid outside the salary cap in his time at Adelaide.

    As a result Adelaide lost two years worth of first and second round draft picks and Tippett was deregistered, meaning they were not able to gain any compensation for his departure in a trade.

    Despite ostensibly leaving the Crows due to homesickness for Queensland, he accepted a lucrative offer to join the then-reigning-premiers, landing at the Swans via the pre-season draft.

    However, he was banned from playing for the first half of the 2013 season due to his role in the salary cap breaches that had taken place.

    Ironically the half-season he did play in 2013 was arguably his best football, kicking a career-high average of nearly three goals per game across 12 appearances.

    Unfortunately that proved to be the peak of Tippett’s Sydney career as the arrival of Lance Franklin at the club at the end of 2013, combined persistent injury trouble, curtailed his form.

    He eventually settled into a new ruck-forward role and enjoyed a strong first half of the 2016 season before a hamstring injury ruined the latter half of his year.

    His 2017 was a tale of frustration, battling to stay fit and in the senior side. He played six games in the NEAFL and was dropped from the senior side on the eve of finals.

    “Kurt has played some key roles for us but has been very unlucky with injury, which is a real shame, because when he’s out on the field he’s been a great competitor,” Sydney Swans coach John Longmire said.

    “It takes courage to admit when your body isn’t up to playing at the level you want, because players love nothing more than to be out there with their teammates competing each week.

    “Kurt has considered what’s best for the club and his teammates when making this decision, and he departs with our full support.”

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.

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    The Crowd Says (51)

    • Roar Guru

      January 22nd 2018 @ 4:16pm
      AdelaideDocker said | January 22nd 2018 @ 4:16pm | ! Report


      It’s official. Injury fatigue the blame, from what it seems.

    • Roar Guru

      January 22nd 2018 @ 4:27pm
      Cat said | January 22nd 2018 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

      Bet Swans list managers would have liked to know this before lists were finalised.

      • Roar Guru

        January 22nd 2018 @ 4:45pm
        Karlo Tychsen said | January 22nd 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

        I doubt this hasn’t come, in part, from the list management.

        • Roar Guru

          January 22nd 2018 @ 6:33pm
          Cat said | January 22nd 2018 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

          At this point he counts as a list spot for all of 2018 and his salary (though not actually paid) counts against the 2018 cap. Not sure how wasting a list spot and somewhere in the neighborhood of $800k of cap space is sensible list management.

          • Roar Rookie

            January 22nd 2018 @ 9:07pm
            Lamby said | January 22nd 2018 @ 9:07pm | ! Report

            So like he has done throughout his career – put himself above the clubs and actually hurts his own teams. He has taken $800k for the year and not doing any of the work, while leaving a big hole at Sydney. They probably could have kept Mitchel if they knew Tippet was going to retire!

            Not many people upset about this in Adelaide (and Crows supporters like me who do not live in Adelaide).

            • January 23rd 2018 @ 9:22am
              Don Freo said | January 23rd 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

              Gee you can spin a yarn if you dislike someone enough.

              Read Longmire’s comments in the article.

            • January 24th 2018 @ 10:17am
              Breathe Easy said | January 24th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

              What happened to my reply to Lamby..pathetic the Roar!!! absolutely pathetic!

          • Roar Rookie

            January 22nd 2018 @ 9:37pm
            Chancho said | January 22nd 2018 @ 9:37pm | ! Report

            is that really how it works?

            I guess you could look at it this way; that it’s unfair on the club and the player, as in he tried to get himself right through the pre-season, saw he wasn’t getting the progress needed, so made the call to retire.

            That’s quite a penalty so early in the year.

            I suppose what it does do is stops clubs signing a player and hugely back-ending his contract in the final year under the assumption that they retire before the last year and they get to allocate that amount back?

            • Roar Guru

              January 23rd 2018 @ 8:23am
              Cat said | January 23rd 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

              Yes. Any contracted player that retires stays on a clubs list (this is to prevent a player from retiring to become a delisted free agent and re-signing somewhere else). Any contracted player that refuses to play/retires/quits does not need to be paid the contracted amount but the contracted amount still counts for salary cap purposes.

              • Roar Rookie

                January 24th 2018 @ 9:36am
                Pedro The Fisherman said | January 24th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

                Can Sydney simply lift a rookie onto their list (something they seem to be quite good at)?

          • January 23rd 2018 @ 12:19pm
            Gecko said | January 23rd 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

            Cat that list management error was made when they contracted Tippett back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the forward line. Today, making space for a youngster is good list management.

            Tippett, Cloke, Ty Vickery. All leaving the game early. We can call it fatigue or injury but it’s really because the game has changed.

            • Roar Guru

              January 23rd 2018 @ 2:04pm
              Cat said | January 23rd 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

              That is true. However, in this case no list space has been created for this year. Final lists have been lodged. Swans cannot go and find someone else worthy of the list spot. Its a dead spot for the entire season.

      • January 23rd 2018 @ 11:30am
        GoSwans said | January 23rd 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

        My understanding is that his contract was re-negotiated last year so that the total left on his existing contract for this year was paid over three years. This meant he was a Swan for life but at a lower rate (not $800k per year as claimed below). This provided salary cap relief. The actions of a true Club man. Unfortunately those payments will still count in the cap but it has enabled the club to keep another player that may have had to go without that cap relief.

        He was fantastic in the first half of 2016. It’s a shame about the suspension and then the injuries.

        • Roar Guru

          January 23rd 2018 @ 2:05pm
          Cat said | January 23rd 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

          Doesn’t help this year. Too late to add another player.

          • January 23rd 2018 @ 10:40pm
            GoSwans said | January 23rd 2018 @ 10:40pm | ! Report

            The Swans don’t usually use the maximum number.

            • January 24th 2018 @ 10:53am
              Birdman said | January 24th 2018 @ 10:53am | ! Report

              so Tippett retires due to injury preventing him playing at the standard required of an AFL player but the Swans and the AFL agree that it wasn’t a ‘career-ending injury’ so the total of his remaining contact 3 years doesn’t continue to count in their cap for the next 3 years, just his 2019 salary will count.

              Call me a cynic but this is just another AFL chop out handed to the Swans.

              • Roar Guru

                January 24th 2018 @ 11:18am
                Paul D said | January 24th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

                The Swans don’t control the definition of career ending, it is apparently strictly defined by the AFL in the rules surrounding this sort of thing.

                My understanding is that he’ll get the bulk of his money this year anyway, and token amounts over the next two, correct me if I’m wrong.

                You are a cynic. But this is just a warmup for the explosions of injustice when the Swans divest themselves of Buddy’s contract a year or two early in 2020/21

    • January 22nd 2018 @ 4:31pm
      Alicesprings said | January 22nd 2018 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

      Well someone has some salary cap room now don’t they!

      • January 22nd 2018 @ 4:35pm
        Birdman said | January 22nd 2018 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

        apparently not.

        Tippet’s contracted salary for the next 2 years stays in Sydney’s cap even if Tippett takes a smaller payout.

        Same deal as Vickery at Hawthorn.

        • Roar Guru

          January 22nd 2018 @ 5:00pm
          Rick Disnick said | January 22nd 2018 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

          He probably had a heavily front-loaded contract.

          Performance bonuses would have also been significant, I’m guessing, which can now be used elsewhere in the Swans salary cap management.

          Saying that: he was one gigantic waste of money…. literally.

        • Roar Rookie

          January 22nd 2018 @ 9:38pm
          Chancho said | January 22nd 2018 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

          I shuddered reading that name… he was no Lake was he

        • January 23rd 2018 @ 9:46am
          George said | January 23rd 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

          Sydney football manager Tom Harley confirmed to SEN a settlement had been agreed between the club and Tippett, and they will not have to carry the entirety of the veteran’s lucrative contract.

          “This is a decision by Kurt. He came to us and wanted to explore that.” he said.

          • Roar Guru

            January 23rd 2018 @ 10:20am
            Cat said | January 23rd 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

            A payout does not change what is counted against the cap. Harley is only talking about the actual money Sydney will end up paying him.

            Even if there was salary cap relief (and there isn’t) it is pointless. The club cannot use it to sign a free agent or to take on salary in a trade at this point.

            • Roar Guru

              January 23rd 2018 @ 6:15pm
              Rick Disnick said | January 23rd 2018 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

              No, but they could carry it over next year.

              • Roar Guru

                January 23rd 2018 @ 8:33pm
                Cat said | January 23rd 2018 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

                Get the same if he quits at the end of this year too

    • January 22nd 2018 @ 4:58pm
      Harsh Truth Harry said | January 22nd 2018 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

      Was always a strange signing by the Swans. They got it right getting Buddy but this was a monumental failure from the swans recruitment team.

      • January 22nd 2018 @ 7:06pm
        Maggie said | January 22nd 2018 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

        On the contrary Tippett was a perfectly logical signing by the Swans. They had not had a specialist full forward since Daniel Bradshaw (who was also forced to retire by injury) and had played all through 2012 filling the position in a makeshift manner (including using Lewis Roberts-Thompson, a defender). It was the one obvious vacancy in their line-up after the 2012 GF win. There was no thought at that time that Franklin would come knocking on the door.

        When Tippett was fit he was a key player for the Swans both in the forward line and the ruck but unfortunately he had wretched luck with injury. Obviously he has been given a poor prognosis after his pre-Christmas ankle reconstruction. Very sad way for him to finish his AFL career.

        • Roar Guru

          January 22nd 2018 @ 7:24pm
          Cat said | January 22nd 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

          But on a 4 year deal with a 2 year vesting extension at something around $800k per annum?

    • January 22nd 2018 @ 5:12pm
      justif01 said | January 22nd 2018 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

      Does this mean his salary is still included in the Swans cap for the rest of his contract duration or does that only apply to free agents like Ty Vickery at Hawthorn? Similarly is this situation like Shane Mumfords at GWS in that being contracted beyond the current year and the player retires early due to injury?

    • January 22nd 2018 @ 5:15pm
      Kiama Chris said | January 22nd 2018 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

      A lot of people have been down on Tippo but IMO that’s unfair. I attend every home game and final and I’ve never seen him do any less than his best.
      Someone offers you a bucket of money and you say “no”? I don’t think so.
      When Tippo was recruited Buddy wasn’t even thought to be available. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
      Good luck to Tippo in life after footy.
      Need a new ressies ruck!

      • January 22nd 2018 @ 5:21pm
        Harsh Truth Harry said | January 22nd 2018 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

        Come off it Chris we aren’t bagging the huge unit but this will go down in history as one of the worst recruiting decisions since Collingwood recruited Allan Edwards! Just admit it!

        • January 22nd 2018 @ 5:54pm
          Aligee said | January 22nd 2018 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

          Gary Shaw from QLD cost the Pies about $300,000 in the 1980’s, no one had ever heard of him before that, Collingwood was convinced it needed a rover to win the flag and Shaw was it.

          Don’t confuse with Tony, Ray or Neviille, no relation.

          Shaws transfer fee was worth about 6 standard suburban houses back them and if we used Collingwood houses about 20 in the 1980’s. 🙂

          • January 22nd 2018 @ 6:40pm
            Art Vandelay said | January 22nd 2018 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

            You left out Derek Shaw, Aligee.

            • January 22nd 2018 @ 6:52pm
              Aligee said | January 22nd 2018 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

              Yes, another great Collingwood hope.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 22nd 2018 @ 9:15pm
        Lamby said | January 22nd 2018 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

        Tippet: Hey Crows, I want to go home and play for Gold Coast or Brisbane.
        Crows: Hey Kurt, we have set up a great deal for you and us with GC.
        Tippet: Actually, I don’t really want to go home. The Swans have offered me a bunch of more cash, but you guys wont get much for the trade and I will go public on the shonky deal that Trigg has done.
        Crows: What dodgey deal? Trigg? What have you done?
        2018: Trigg has been sacked at Carlton (Carlton!!) and Tippet can’t play footy.

        • January 23rd 2018 @ 11:21am
          Birdman said | January 23rd 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report


        • January 23rd 2018 @ 11:42am
          GoSwans said | January 23rd 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

          My understanding is the Swans offer was less than $50,000 more than the Crows so if you take out the paper bag stuff Trigg had organised he wasn’t any better off in Sydney.

          He was born in Sydney! He likes to surf. Moving home was just a nice way to say I hate living in Adelaide,

          • Roar Guru

            January 23rd 2018 @ 2:07pm
            Cat said | January 23rd 2018 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

            Technically correct, he was born in Sydney but moved at 2 months of age and played all his junior footy in Queensland. Sydney wasn’t ‘home’. The aborted move to Brisbane or Gold Coast would have been ‘going home’.

            • January 23rd 2018 @ 2:16pm
              Birdman said | January 23rd 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

              yep, cash, flags and lifestyle in that order – home was well down the list

          • January 24th 2018 @ 8:19am
            Reservoir Animal said | January 24th 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

            Haha, next you’ll say Sydney need COLA back because of the go-home factor.

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