His injury woes finally behind him, Sydney ruckman Kurt Tippett is confident and looking to build on his form going into Saturday’s grand final after breaking the longest scoring drought of his AFL career.
Tippett was in arguably career-best form over the second half of last season and the first half of the current campaign.
That rich vein of form was interrupted by a mid-season hamstring tendon injury which required surgery and sidelined him for eight matches.
Tippett returned in round 22 and played three games before missing a further match, when he suffered a hairline fracture of his jaw in a qualifying final.
He returned for last Friday’s preliminary final against Geelong, contributing two goals to the Swans’ thumping win over the Cats.
“I’ve been able to do some good training over the last six , seven weeks and I feel confident and looking to build on my performance from last week,” Tippett told AAP on Monday.
The brace of goals against Geelong ended the leanest scoring spell of Tippett’s nine-season AFL career.
He had gone six games either side of his surgery without a goal, three more matches than his previous worst spell.
In his four seasons with Sydney, Tippett had never gone more than one game without a goal.
“You’re not worried about numbers in the first couple of weeks back (from injury),” Tippett said.
”You’re just trying to get back out there and find your feet and start playing your role and grounding yourself in the game again.”
Tippett formed a highly effective ruck tandem with former West Coast big man Callum Sinclair in the first half of the season.
Sinclair also suffered a long-term injury in the second half of the season, with less experienced duo Sam Naismith and Toby Nankervis stepping up in the absence of the two senior ruckmen.
In recent weeks Tippett has teamed up with 206cm Naismith, who he described as a great athlete.
“We’ve seen him grow so fast. It’s a real credit to him,” Tippett said.
Sydney’s grand final opponent Western Bulldogs have an injury query over ruckman Jordan Roughead, though Tom Boyd stepped up with a career-best 21 hitouts when he took over the ruck duties last weekend.
“The way Boyd stepped in and was able to shoulder a lot of that ruck work was very impressive,” Tippett said.
“They are two different ruckmen. We’re going to sit down and have a good luck at them in the coming days.”