K rock Football

Tigers set to recall Nankervis

Richmond ruckman Toby Nankervis. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

TOBY Nankervis is firming to return for Richmond’s AFL qualifying final against Brisbane, with the Tigers set to deploy a rarely-used twin tower ruck combination.

Nankervis has only played one senior game in the past four months while battling groin injuries but delivered a match-winning performance in Saturday’s VFL qualifying final.

The 2017 premiership ruckman capped off a dominant showing by kicking the winning goal against Essendon.

Coach Damien Hardwick says Nankervis has largely proved his fitness and the form of incumbent tap man Ivan Soldo means the duo is likely to pair up for the first time since 2017 in Saturday night’s clash at the Gabba.

The Tigers have generally avoided pairing the 199cm Nankervis and 204cm Soldo, preferring the versatility offered by back-up options such as Mabior Chol.

“He’s certainly put his hand up for selection,” Hardwick said of Nankervis on Monday.

“He’s pulled up reasonably well today so that’s exciting for us.

“He’ll train again a little bit tomorrow and have a big session on Thursday, then we’ll probably be able to make a more calculated call.

“He started off a little bit slow (in the VFL) but then I thought he was probably the difference in the second half of the game.

“Ivan has been terrific … from where he’s come from about four or five years ago, basically walking off the street to try out; he’s been incredible.”

Skipper Trent Cotchin said he had pulled up well from the Tigers’ final round win over the Lions, his first game back after a month on the sidelines.

The 29-year-old has battled hamstring injuries all season but felt he was well- placed to attack the finals in typically ferocious fashion.

“Going into round 23, aside from carrying a little bit of baggage just from being injured throughout the year, I was really pleased with the way the body was feeling from a bash-and-crash point of view,” Cotchin said.

“Typically I fall over the line towards the back end of the year and hang out for that bye just before finals, so it’s been a little bit different for me personally.”

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