Out of action: Kurt Tippett will miss the Swans clash with Fremantle. Photo: Anthony JohnsonDesperate times call for desperate measures but not so at Sydney, who resisted the temptation to pick forward Kurt Tippett for the Swans’ season-defining clash with Fremantle on Saturday night.
Tippett will make his return to competitive football alongside dumped veteran Ryan O’Keefe in the curtain-raiser at the SCG after the Swans decided to err on the side of caution with their boom signing from 2012.
The Swans coaching staff want to carefully monitor Tippett’s game time in his first competitive match of the season and are better placed to do that in an NEAFL game than at the elite level.
Aware the impact Tippett had last year after serving a lengthy suspension, the Swans had considered rushing the former Adelaide star straight back through the seniors.
But unlike last year when Tippett was still able to train strongly in the build-up to his return, this time he has been on a limited program due to knee tendinitis.
His absence means Swans fans will have to wait at least another week before they see their dream goal square pairing of Franklin and Tippett in action.
The Swans’ forward line bordered on dysfunctional in the wet last week and ranks a lowly 13th for points scored this season.
They will take on a Fremantle team, which under Ross Lyon, have become one of the most miserly defensive units in the last two seasons.
Ominously for the Swans, several of their key midfielders, such as Kieren Jack and Dan Hannebery, are in the midst of a form slump.
“We’ve got a number of players who aren’t in form, they know who they are,” said McGlynn, who did not name names.
“They’re proud footballers and I’m sure they’re going to bounce back and get themselves back in form but we need to work together. It’s not just about the midfield, it’s all players on the field that have to contribute.
“It does start in the middle but everyone needs to pull their weight and we’re not having everyone at the moment going in the right direction.”
O’Keefe, the 2012 Norm Smith Medallist, has paid the price after averaging only 11 possessions a game in the first four rounds.
The 33-year-old, who was a late inclusion in round one, makes way along with Tom Mitchell, who has an ankle injury, and Gary Rohan.
Rohan, who has started in the green vest in the last two rounds, has been battling leg soreness and the Swans match committee want to see how much game time he can play in the seconds.
Craig Bird returns after collecting 40 possessions in the reserves last week, alongside Brandon Jack and youngster Jake Lloyd, who has been upgraded from the rookie list for his AFL debut.
It has been a long week of soul searching for the Swans, who, after starting the season as a leading flag contender, could be three games out of the top four by the end of the weekend if they lose to the Dockers.
“It’s a poor start for us. The foundation the players that have gone before us have left, I think we need to dig into that,” McGlynn said.
“It’s a proud football club and we need to do it for the people that have done the hard yards.
“When you put the jumper on, you’re representing not just yourself and your family, but the footy club, the supporters and the people that have been here before you.
“A few boys on Monday were a bit disappointed with their efforts and I expect a better performance this weekend.”
The Swans drew with Fremantle early last season but were choked to death by the Dockers in the preliminary final.
“They shut us down and we learned a bit from that game and put a few things in place over the summer to learn from experiences like that,” McGlynn said.
“But you don’t really think about those situations coming in, especially in the position we’re in.
“Only hard work will get you out of it.”