It became abundantly clear towards the end of the 2012 AFL season that big Adelaide forward Kurt Tippett wouldn’t be back for another year when rumours started emerging from inside the club that the fifth year veteran was seeking a new home on the East Coast before the finals had even begun. Adelaide’s dream run ended against the Hawks and speculation took off suggesting Tippett was set to return home to Queensland, and soon after he was considered ‘a lock’ to play for the premiers Sydney. Now, playing AFL football at all may be unlikely at all for Tippett as the Crows effort to trade him have turned from difficult to scandalous.
The AFL is launching an investigation into the Tippett trade on the basis that Adelaide breached the league’s player rules with Tippett’s 2009 contract while Tippett and his manager Peter Blucher may face the pump for organising prohibited agreements that would see Tippett moved to the club of his choice.
If the allegations are proven accurate Adelaide faces the prospect of losing their picks in the upcoming national draft and Tippett may be banned from footy for the entire 2013 season.
The investigation was established when news emerged Sydney was close to acquiring Tippett, Adelaide’s most expensive player, in exchange for seldom used ruckman Jessie White and pick No.23. It is unsure whether or not the AFL pulled the plug on the proposed deal and the league’s concern is that some sort of unspoken agreement between the Crows and Tippett was included in his 2009 contract, detailed in a note the Crows possess, which guarantees Tippett’s control in the event he was to leave the club.
Such an agreement would go against AFL player rules regarding draft tampering- any type of agreement that hinders natural operation of the draft, brought about by the inclusion of the pick in Tippett-White swap.
It’s a lot of commotion for a player that has largely failed to live up to expectations. Tippett, labelled with the unshakable ‘potential’ tag, struggled through 2012 with a number of concussion related injuries and poor form. He did manage 39 goals, but that was a far cry from the career best 55 he booted in his second season (2009) or the 45 he kicked in 2010.
In an offseason that has seen numerous star players switch clubs, it may seem a drastic, and possibly unlikely, decision to suspend Tippett an entire season, but with so little information as of yet it is hard to predict what will eventuate from what is now the biggest story of the 2012 trade period.
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