Swans lose Tippett and Richards

Injury to Kurt Tippett and a suspension to Ted Richards have added further issues for a Sydney side dealing with the fallout from their 89-point AFL flogging by Hawthorn.

Veteran fullback Richards, the long serving linchpin of the Swans defence, was charged by the AFL Match Review Panel with engaging in rough conduct against Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell.

He can have a two-match suspension reduced to one with an early plea, but his absence against a red-hot Eagles attack in Perth on Sunday would be keenly felt.

Ruck-forward Tippett will miss two to three weeks after breaking his hand in the second quarter of last Saturday’s massive loss.

Midfielder Craig Bird will sit out for up to four matches with a calf strain.

Longmire hopes to have first-choice ruckman Mike Pyke and defender Jeremy Laidler back from injury, provided they come through training on Wednesday.

Tippet’s recent form has attracted some criticism, but Longmire pointed out he had received coaches votes for his performance the weekend before last against Brisbane.

“I was on public record, if he gets over 40 odd goals for the year and plays 50 per cent of his time in the ruck, it’s not a bad role,” Longmire said of Tippett, who has kicked 25 goals this season.

“We can get more out of him at different times, but his ruck work over the past two or three weeks has been really good and he’s still been hitting the scoreboard.”

Longmire said rookie forward Isaac Heeney was a good chance of playing in the seniors for the first time since suffering a knee injury in round six, following another strong performance in the reserves.

Reflecting on the thrashing by Hawthorn, Longmire said his players had to get back to playing the two-way football that has been a key factor in their success in recent years.

“We’ve just got a decision to make, do we want to play really good consistent team football both sides of the ball or don’t we?” Longmire said.

“At the moment we’re picking and choosing a little bit when we make those decisions.

“It’s been the case for the majority of the year.

“Our big challenge is to decide to play the two-way football that we’ve been able to consistently display for a long time and to make sure we do it quickly.”

He wasn’t convinced the Swans were buddy-centric and concentrating too much on looking for champion forward Lance Franklin, who kicked his 700th goal last weekend.

“We just didn’t use any options going inside 50 on the weekend, we had plenty of opportunities to hit targets, Lance wasn’t the only one,” Longmire said.

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