While the absence of Kurt Tippett will present some challenges for Sydney Swans in 2018, Head of Football Tom Harley says it creates an opportunity for others.

Tippett made the difficult decision to call time on his AFL career on Monday after ongoing injuries – which most recently required an ankle reconstruction – left him unable to compete at the highest level.

Speaking on Melbourne radio on Tuesday, Tom Harley said he expects fellow big men Sam Naismith and Callum Sinclair will shoulder the load competently in Tippett’s absence, while emerging ruckman Darcy Cameron has the chance to impress.

He also was of the opinion that the role of the ruckmen had “evolved” significantly enough in recent seasons for clubs to be creative.

“Ruckmen aren’t growing on trees at the moment, we’re clearly one down, but we’re still confident and comfortable with Naismith and Sinclair, and we’ve got Darcy Cameron coming through,” Harley said.

“I think we saw an evolution last year with some of the medium-sized, fifth midfielders, if you like. Dean Towers played a role for us doing that (as a ruckman).

“We were planning for Kurt to have a delayed start to the season, those plans were put in place immediately, but it now does force us to rethink a few things.”

Tippett finishes a career spanning 178 games over 10 seasons with two different clubs, having begun his journey with Adelaide via the 2006 National Draft.

He booted 188 goals from 104 games as an out-and-out forward with the Crows, and although that form continued after his move to Sydney where he won the Club’s goal-kicking from only 12 games in 2013, Tippett would soon develop into a dominate mobile ruckman capable in the air as much as impacting the scoreboard.

Harley singled out a patch in early 2016 when Tippett’s footy was “as good as it gets” from a big man.

“I would argue strongly that he was the All-Australian ruckman during that period of time – he was pretty good at kicking goals and running amuck as another tall midfielder,” Harley said.

“But the facts are that injuries really crippled him and so I think it’s probably fair to say, the last couple of years, we didn’t (see his full potential).

“Only Kurt really knows how that impacted him, not only physically but mentally as well. Everyone will have their opinions.

“But from our point of view, I think like all footballers, as long as you can put your head on the pillow at the end of the day and say you gave it your all, Kurt certainly did that.”