Sydney big man Kurt Tippett will line up in reserves again this weekend as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.
Sydney big man Kurt Tippett will line up in reserves again this weekend as he continues to recover from an ankle injury. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Time running out for Tippett

AFL: Sydney says Kurt Tippett remains central to the team this AFL season.

But time is starting to run thin for the out-of-sorts big man.

Tippett will spend at least a third NEAFL game on the sidelines this weekend recovering from an ankle injury that's further foiled his uphill battle for senior game time.

The highly paid 30-year-old was dropped after round 10 and played two games in the reserves before fitness issues again thwarted a comeback.

"The decision was made a couple of weeks ago to not play him, give him a chance to recover, get the treatment that's required to give him a really good chance to recover,” Swans football manager Tom Harley said.

"He's in a strength phase now with his ankle, he won't play again this week. He'll start to run and then look to skills next week with the view to play next week.

"So (he's) clearly an important part of our team going forward in this final quarter of the season. He's doing everything he can to get up but he won't play this week.”

With only eight rounds of the regular season left, the question is whether Tippett can regain fitness and form in time to convince coach John Longmire he can play a role for the resurgent Swans.

Sydney Swans AFL player Dane Rampe takes part in a training session in Sydney on Thursday, March 23, 2017. The Swans will host the Port Adelaide Power in round 1 of the AFL season on March 25. (AAP Image/Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVING
Sydney Swans defender Dane Rampe joins in a training drill. PAUL MILLER

The Swans' stunning revival has been boosted by the return of stars Dane Rampe, Isaac Heeney, Gary Rohan and Jarrad McVeigh.

It's a factor McVeigh is counting on against Gold Coast at home on Saturday, when they can squeeze back into the top eight and perhaps even finish the round there.

"Having the familiar faces around, the guys that you trust,” said McVeigh of what's helped the Swans improve.

"The youngsters that were playing performed really well but they're still learning the game as well.

"When you see Ramps back there you have that extra confidence. You look at each other and you know what they want.

"Those type of things definitely help, but we got good game time into the younger players who we absolutely trust when they do come up and play senior footy.”

Youngster Callum Mills remains in doubt for the clash due to concussion concerns from Melbourne forward Tom Bugg's strike, while Harry Cunningham and Will Hayward are both ruled out another week with foot problems.