Aliir considered for ruck role

31 January 2018 09:43:27 EST
Swans coach John Longmire.

Sydney Swans may give Aliir Aliir the chance to replace retired tall Kurt Tippett next season.

The Kenyan-born 23-year-old is looking to rebound after a tough 2017 that saw him play just three appearances. He was dropped after the Swans' defeat to West Coast in round four, and failed to take a further opportunity.

The Swans recalled him for the round seven meeting with Brisbane, but he was dropped before the match when he missed training the day before.

Aliir had had a breakthrough 2016 season, playing 13 games and cementing a position in Sydney's defence. He's been out of favour, though, since costing himself the chance to play against the Lions.

Now, coach John Longmire is looking at him as a possible replacement for ruckman Tippett who announced his retirement on medical grounds earlier this month.

Longmire said Aliir's problems last season could largely be explained by a case of turf toe he suffered during pre-season which prevented him from running for three months.

"It was a pretty significant injury and that really set him back a bit. Then when he started to get going, Lewis Melican had got a start in the team as a key defender, we were on a bit of a winning roll and it was hard for Aliir to get back in the team," said the coach.

"We think he can really add to our team but we're keen to get him back in that form he was in two years ago, whether that's down back or in other roles. We're keen to see Aliir really grab those opportunities.

"We think he can play as a key defender, but also a third tall role and give us some more rebound and punch from our back half. We think he can also play in the ruck as a second ruck and give us some real mobility around the ground."

Tippett was forced to call time on his 178-game career due to chronic ankle injuries and Longmire said the 30-year-old would be a significant loss.

Sydney are 11/2 to win the Grand Final and 3/4 to finish in the top four.

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