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Swans tip Tippett out for Grand Final rematch

Football

Sydney ruckman Kurt Tippett has been dropped and Western Bulldogs key forward Travis Cloke recalled for tonight's clash between last year's Grand Finalists at the SCG.

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Former Crow Tippett has struggled for form and fitness this season and has been replaced by Sam Naismith, while Kieren Jack has also been recalled with Oliver Florent omitted.

Cloke is one of four changes for the Bulldogs, who have also recalled Fletcher Roberts, Matthew Boyd and Toby McLean, with Dale Morris (ankle), Tom Boyd (back) and Robert Murphy (hamstring) out injured and Bailey Williams omitted.

But out of favour midfielder Tom Liberatore was again left out of the Bulldogs’ side.

Tippett has been sent back to the reserves and will play on Saturday in the NEAFL.

“Kurt has got a few things to work on in the reserves, he knows what they are and we’re confident that he’ll be able to turn it around really quickly,” Swans coach John Longmire said.

“Both the second half of last year and the first half of this year, he’s been affected by injuries and it hasn’t led to a consistent performance and we’d like to be able to get that consistent performance out of him.”

Naismith, who is back from a medial strain, will share the ruck workload with Callum Sinclair.

Former co-captain Jack has missed the past five senior games through rehabilitation of a hip injury. This prevented him playing any pre-season games and affected his form and fitness through the first five rounds.

“He’s had a much better preparation this time around so we’re confident he’ll be able to contribute to the team,” Longmire said.

The Bulldogs’ Cloke was dropped for their last game, but had his most productive outing of the season against Sydney back in round two. He comes in for Tom Boyd up forward.

Matthew Boyd returns from a shoulder injury for his first game since round eight and Roberts comes in for Morris.

The Bulldogs are sixth with a 6-4 record while Sydney, 3-7, are floundering in 16th, with an eighth loss of the season putting any remaining finals’ aspirations in severe jeopardy.

The Bulldogs have won their past four clashes with the Swans.

However, the Dogs are yet to win this year outside Melbourne, losing on the road to Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney, West Coast and Geelong.

“We won six out of eight last year so we’re looking at getting our names in the winning side of the ledger interstate,” Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.

“They’re always hard to beat, interstate teams, but Sydney at their best is a good scalp if you can get it, so we’ll do everything we can to pull it off.”

 -AAP

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