That statement is not totally fair, since Tippett has averaged more than two goals a game in his time at Sydney, but the fact remains that the pairing just didn't look quite right.
Whatever the case, one of the most effective positional moves made at any club in 2016 is that of Tippett to number one ruckman at the Swans. On his current form he could well be in line for an All-Australian selection in the ruck position.
In truth, the transition to more than a part time ruckman started last year, when Tippett was spending almost as much time on the ball as his counterpart, Mike Pyke.
Since the retirement of Pyke, Tippett has gone from a forward that played a bit in the ruck, to a ruck-forward, to an elite full time ruckman. One of the great things about good ruckmen, from a fan's perspective, is that they occupy one of the last positions on the ground that pits them in a genuine one on one contest for almost a whole match.
So it is that this Friday night Tippett will go up against the man who he is challenging as the number one ruckman in the competition, Todd Goldstein, and the winner of the duel will have a big say in who wins the most anticipated match of Round 10.
It truly is an exciting match up. While Tippett doesn't get a massive number of hitouts, averaging 28 to Goldstein's 37, his work around the ground is excellent. This season he is getting career-best numbers for disposals, clearances, tackles, inside 50s, rebound 50s and goal assists. All this makes sense, as he is spending more time around the contests, but he's also backing it up by maintaining his average of nearly two goals a game.
It his goal kicking that is likely his most dangerous weapon. Not only has he kicked 15 goals in nine games, it is with deadly accuracy - he has only four behinds to his name this year. The opposition ruck needs to have their defensive game switched on when the contest moves to Sydney's forward 50.
Goldstein, meanwhile, is no slouch up forward himself. He showed how dangerous he can be in the third quarter of last week's win over Carlton, when he bagged three goals in 10 minutes while resting in the forward line. That takes his tally this season to 12. The most he has kicked in a single season is 13 and he has almost equalled it only nine rounds in.
Where Goldstein is most dominant, of course, is in the middle of the ground. His silver service at the centre bounces has North Melbourne ranked third in the competition for centre clearances this year. Even Goldstein himself ranks in the top 20 players for centre clearances, far and away the highest ranked ruckman.
Getting the ball out of the centre won't necessarily get your team goals though, and Sydney rank number one in the league for inside 50s where they convert over 25% of their entries to goals. Lance Franklin, Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannebery, Tom Mitchell and Keiren Jack all rank in the top 20 players for inside 50s, posing a huge task for North's midfield, not to mention their defenders.
At least one Roos defender will already have his hands full with what is possibly the hardest job in the game at the moment: stopping Lance Franklin. Franklin is well on the way to becoming the first player to kick 100 goals twice in a season since Matthew Lloyd 15 years ago. Fortunately for North they have two of the in-form key defenders in the competition.
Scott Thompson has done the job on Franklin before, notably keeping him goalless on two separate occasions in recent memory. More likely, though, is that Robbie Tarrant will get the task. Tarrant is another who is very much in the running for an All-Australian jumper, finally playing to the level of which we've only seen glimpses in the last six seasons. His mobility and athleticism, together with his sheer size, make him the perfect match up for Franklin. The way Franklin is playing at the moment, though, means not only stopping him from kicking goals but from setting them up for his teammates as well.
There are a great many pundits that suggest North Melbourne's undefeated start to the season has flattered them, that the ability of the team is not on a par with the likes of Sydney and Geelong. While a win this week won't silence all the doubters, it will certainly cause some to take North more seriously. Like most games, this is one that will likely be won or lost in the midfield, but if North's battles with both Kurt Tippett and Lance Franklin can be halved or won they will be that much closer to a 10-0 start to 2016.