Sydney coach John Longmire is pondering whether to go small or tall with his forward line after the club accepted one-match AFL bans to star spearheads Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett.
Franklin was punished for a bump on Richmond’s Shane Edwards and Tippett for an elbow to Dylan Grimes in last Friday’s match at the SCG.
Between them, Franklin (36) and Tippett (22) have accounted for over a third of the goals kicked by Sydney this year.
The Swans proved they were capable of kicking a big winning score on the only occasion when both Franklin and Tippett were unavailable.
Sydney kicked 18.15 against the Lions in Brisbane last year, winning that game by 79 points.
Longmire said one obvious switch would involve swingman Sam Reid, who has spent time down back this year, being moved forward for Thursday’s home game with Port Adelaide,
Veteran Adam Goodes is likely to stay forward and Longmire and his match committee have a number of options.
“We’re looking at do we go taller or smaller in our front half?,” Longmire said on Monday.
“Whether it’s Dean Towers, Toby Nankervis, different types of players we can have in our front half.
“Those discussions are happening at the moment and they will be ongoing. We will make that decision a bit later in the week.”
Sydney will also lose Tippett as their backup ruckman, but Longmire is hoping to have his first-choice Mike Pyke back after missing the Richmond game with a knee issue.
“We’d expect him to have a real chance of playing this week, at this stage he’s more likely to play than not,” Longmire said of Pyke.
Longmire has defended Tippett against criticism in some quarters that the big money player hasn’t produced enough this year and he accentuated the value he offers through his ruck work.
“He’s kicked 22 goals at the halfway point … playing a mixture of forward and ruck,” Longmire said of Tippett.
“He’s changed his role fairly dramatically this year, playing more ruck, he’s allowed us to do other things.
“If he came home at the end of the season with a 40-plus goal performance and playing a fair bit in the ruck it wouldn’t be too bad a year.”
“There’s certainly things in his game he can improve and we’re working with him constantly to do that but we understand that those roles have changed since he’s been here.”
Longmire expected rookie forward Isaac Heeney and midfielder-small forward Ben McGlynn to both make comebacks from injury this week in the reserves.