Kurt Tippett was last night closer to becoming a Sydney player after a "positive meeting" between the Swans and Adelaide over the future of the imposing forward-ruckman.
Sydney chief executive Andrew Ireland indicated a deal that would see Tippett join the 2012 premiers and his former club Adelaide receiving adequate compensation had advanced after fruitful discussions between Swans recruiting manager Kinnear Beatson and his Crows counterpart David Noble.
"The view was that it was a positive meeting," Ireland said. "And we might well now be on the road to completing something. We've still got a bit of work to do, but they thought it was a positive meeting.
"I'm confident only because of our track record over the journey ... we get the deals done."
Sydney ruled out sending premiership defender Heath Grundy back to his home State and were adamant that teenager Tom Mitchell, son of former prolific midfielder Barry, wouldn't be part of any exchange to land Tippett.
Mitchell could yet be an automatic replacement for Jude Bolton if the dual premiership hero decides to retire.
"Tom's name has never been raised by us and will never be raised by us," Ireland told AFL Trade Radio.
"He's a father-son who we think will be important in our midfield in the future and he would never be part of the trade."
Ireland said the Swans were hopeful they wouldn't have to relinquish a premiership player to the Crows to secure the deal, but was unable to rule it out.
His positivity surrounding Tippett, who shocked the Crows when he declared that he wanted to continue his career in Sydney rather than his home town of Gold Coast as was expected, came just hours before respected Crows football operations general manager Phil Harper fired a broadside at the 25-year-old.
"You don't want a player that doesn't want to play for you," Harper said, speaking on Adelaide radio station, 5AA.
"I'll tell you now, if I told our players that he's coming back now, well I reckon he'd be by himself.
"I would rather work through the other 40 blokes who want to play for the footy club.
"We let him go all the times he wanted to go home, we developed a team around him that's that close to winning a premiership it's not funny.
"If he still doesn't want to be here, I don't want him here."
Harper's tough talking followed on from Tippett's former teammate Josh Jenkins outlining the perspective of the players at West Lakes.
"Speculation continued to suggest he would seek a move home at some stage," Jenkins wrote in a newspaper column. "Most could understand that. But last I checked, Sydney is not in Queensland.
"I couldn't imagine spending several years at the one club, only to leave and burn almost all the bridges that had been built over the years.
"I am not saying Kurt no longer has friends or positive relationships at the Crows, but most from West Lakes would have some right to be disappointed in his actions."
"You don't want a player that doesn't want to play for you. I don't want him here."" Crows football operations general manager *Phil Harper *