Main content

Sore ankle proves big Swan's tipping point

'Negotiation' saw off Buddy, but he's 'fine' John Longmire says there no doubt on their star forward
Callum Sinclair justified his selection with a big game against the Bombers - AFL,Sydney Swans
Callum Sinclair justified his selection with a big game against the Bombers
He was pretty good and certainly provided a target for us in our front half
John Longmire on Callum Sinclair

DOUBT over Kurt Tippett's ability to get through Sydney's elimination final against Essendon on Saturday was a major factor in the ruckman's demotion to the NEAFL.

Swans coach John Longmire recalled Sam Naimsith for the Bombers clash and elected to go with Callum Sinclair over Tippett in a somewhat surprising decision. 

Full match coverage and stats

Both Sinclair and Tippett were injured in Sydney's round 23 demolition of Carlton a fortnight ago, but Tippett had more of an issue with his recovery because he'd had problems with the same ankle previously this season. 

Sinclair responded with an outstanding three-goal performance against Essendon, while Tippett was left to play in the reserves Grand Final after the Swans' 65-point win.

Longmire revealed post-match that the West Australian big man got the nod because he was better prepared for the final, and suited to the task of keeping Bomber Michael Hurley accountable inside the Swans' forward line. 

"Kurt trained on Thursday and got through quite well but we were going into a final, and we needed to make sure everyone was up for the full 120 minutes' Longmire said. 

"So that played into it a little bit, and we had a role with Sinclair which was a key role for us which he did really well.

"We'll see how our reserves go and we'll pick the best team for next week."

WATCH: John Longmire's full press conference

Sinclair dominated Hurley and took four marks in the opening term, before finishing the night with nine grabs, four of those contested, to go with his three goals.

Longmire praised the 27-year-old for his efforts against one of the game's best key defenders. 

"He was pretty good and certainly provided a target for us in our front half," he said. 

SHOWREEL: Soaring Swans dominate in the air

"He competed strongly in the air which is what we wanted him to do and I thought his game was really solid." 

Lance Franklin blitzed the Bombers with four second quarter goals but had little impact for the rest of the game after copping a corked thigh in the first quarter.

Longmire rested the four-time Coleman medallist for most of the last term with the match well in his side's grasp, and said Franklin was in no doubt for next Friday night's semi-final against Geelong at the MCG. 

"He kicked goals and played quite well after that (knock), he was limping when he was stationary but when he was moving he was ok," Longmire said. 

"We had a negotiation at three-quarter time and we came up with an agreement to start him on the bench.

"About five minutes in he iced up, but if we (had) needed him he would have been able to keep playing." 

Young defender Lewis Melican was a late withdrawal from the win over Essendon with quad tightness, but could be in line to return against the Cats.