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Tigers wait on Nank after starring role in stunning VFL win

Toby Nankervis put his hand up for an AFL recall with a huge game in Richmond's VFL win - AFL,VFL,News
Toby Nankervis put his hand up for an AFL recall with a huge game in Richmond's VFL win

RICHMOND expects to know within 48 hours whether Toby Nankervis will be fit to face the Brisbane Lions, after the premiership Tiger starred in their VFL team's thrilling qualifying final win on Saturday.

Nankervis, on return from a groin complaint, kicked the winning goal in the Tigers' come-from-behind two-point win over Essendon at Punt Road after he was awarded a free kick with seconds remaining.

The goal, which put the Tigers through a preliminary final in two weeks' time, capped off a strong performance from the 25-year-old in his first game since round 21.

Nankervis ended with 33 hit-outs, 22 disposals and three tackles from around 80 minutes of game time. 

It was an encouraging display from the big man, who was returning from residual soreness from the groin issue that saw him miss 11 games from round eight.

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But VFL coach Craig McRae said they would need to see how Nankervis recovered before they made a call on his availability for Saturday night's qualifying final against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.

"It all depends on how he pulls up. He's played three games so far this year and he's pulled up quite sore from them so we'll wait and see on that," McRae said.

"It's been a week to week … traditionally it's been 48 hours, the first training session [where we've known]. I'd say Monday we'll see how he pulls up.

"I know match committee were pretty keen to see how he goes in that ruck position, that second ruck, because I think that's where they've forecast him playing.

"At his best he'll be playing AFL footy, so if he pulls up well I think he'll be in the mix to be discussed because there's an opportunity there for him … we'll see how that pans out."

Earlier, Tigers recruit Marlion Pickett also caught the eye with a courageous mark going back with the flight of the ball. He added 21 disposals and 2.1 in another promising display. 

Ruckman Mabior Chol was also impressive with 13 hit-outs and two goals, with McRae conceding the athletic big man was in competition with Nankervis for the Tigers' second ruck spot behind Ivan Soldo.

Noah Balta, the other tall option, was selected in round 23 ahead of Chol but didn't make a strong impression after he suffered a corked thigh during the game.  

He missed Saturday's VFL final with the same injury but was expected to be available for selection next week.

Connor Menadue kicked two goals and was prolific while recent draftee Marlion Pickett showed just why he was plucked out of Perth mid-season, but premiership player Kamdyn McIntosh had just eight touches as he rotated between the backline and wing. 

Premiership Tiger Jacob Townsend kicked an important steadier in the first quarter but was reported for a dangerous tackle on Jake Long moments before half-time.

For the Bombers, Davis Myers was the leading possession getter with 36 but limped off with a leg injury late in the game.

Michael Hartley played forward and kicked three goals, and looms as the likely inclusion for Michael Hurley should he fail to recover in time from the shoulder he hurt in round 23.

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