Sydney coach John Longmire is prepared to be patient with his out-of-form stars, but has the option to bringing Kurt Tippett back into the struggling side this weekend.
The Swans have made a 1-3 start and have another testing AFL assignment against Fremantle at the SCG on Saturday.
Tippett, their leading goalkicker last season, has missed the first four games with a knee issue.
He was rested from training on Tuesday after pulling up well from Monday’s session and Longmire expected him to play on the weekend.
Longmire wasn’t sure if Tippett would start back in the reserves or seniors.
The coach took a playful swipe at the pundits who criticised him for going with two ruckmen in the 43-point loss to North Melbourne at a wet SCG last weekend.
Longmire joked he might get criticised for selecting 201cm Tippett, as “he might be a bit too tall”.
He conceded several players were down on form, but suggested it could be a few more weeks before significant changes were made.
“We’ve still got enormous faith in those guys to make sure that they turn their season around personally but also from the team’s perspective,” Longmire said.
“We’re confident that those blokes can do it and keep driving each other on match days to get back into that type of form they can do.”
Veteran and dual premiership winner Ryan O’Keefe has been one of those down on form, but Longmire said his role had changed.
“He’s played a bit more of a leadership role in the forwards, a bit similar to what Jude (Bolton) did before he retired,” Longmire said.
“He’s doing that quite well as far as understanding the strengths and weaknesses of players.
“It just depends upon what we need on any given week (as to), how many games he plays.
“Ryan understands that. What I’m really pleased about with Ryan is his commitment to the task at hand.
“It’s been outstanding and he’s prepared to play any role we need him to.”
Longmire was looking for Sydney to work harder in areas in which they have traditionally excelled, but have struggled in this season.
“We need to make sure that this week we get back to getting the overalls on and getting back to work,” Longmire said.
“Some of the statistical areas of our game at the moment aren’t up to scratch – all off the areas that we really pride ourselves on that have been good in the past.
“Whether it’s contested football, getting scored on too easily, our clearance rate.”
He was looking for Sydney to follow Fremantle’s example after they bounced back against Essendon following a flogging by Hawthorn.