Kurt Tippett of the Sydney Swans has caused a bit of a ripple in the AFL pool by announcing his immediate retirement from the game.
He is just 30 years of age, near the end of his career, possibly, but he sustained an ankle injury that is not getting better.
He still owed the Sydney Swans three years after coming over from the Adelaide Crows in 2013.
Tippett made his debut for the Crows in 2008, playing five seasons and 104 games. He made it to the finals in 2012, when Adelaide lost to the Hawthorn Hawks in the preliminary and 2009, when it was the Magpies that dispatched the Crows.
He was a consistent on-ground presence for Adelaide, but when he came to the Swans, his durability began to disintegrate. His best season for the Swans, 22 games, was in 2015, when the Swans lost to the FremantleDockers in the quarterfinal, but lived on, only to lose to, of all sides, the North Melbourne Kangaroos in the semifinal round.
Tippett only made nine appearances in 2017 and all his figures fell off precipitously.
Off-season reconstructive ankle surgery in October of 2017 did not produce the desired outcome and Tippett had doubts that he could return to full fitness.
He told his teammates, “It’s really tough to leave a game and a club which I really love, but the reality is that my body isn’t going to stand up to the rigours of professional football. As I’ve found out in the past 18 months or so, it’s impossible to play at the level you want without being fully fit.”
Tippett received a lucrative deal following the 2012 season, even though many believed he would return to his home area of Queensland, perhaps to play for the Lions or the Suns.
Tippett’s notoriety came in the form of a 2012 controversy that found him suspended for a breach of the salary cap and draft tampering. He was suspended for 22 games and fined $50,000, but the AFL kept the money and reduced the suspension to 11 games.
The Crows were fined $300,000 and had to surrender their NAB AFL Draft picks for the first two rounds.