MARLION Pickett will not be the be-all and end-all for Richmond, with coach Damien Hardwick warning against expecting the AFL Grand Final debutant to be a match-winner.

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Pickett was remarkably confirmed for his senior debut on Thursday, making the mature-aged rookie the first player in 67 years to be making his maiden appearance in a Grand Final.

It caps an incredible journey for the 27-year-old, who arrived at the Tigers via the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft in May with a finger injury, before breaking into the VFL team and earning his spot in the senior side on the biggest stage of all on Saturday afternoon.

Damien Hardwick expects Marlion Pickett to be "a valuable player" in the Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

"He's just unfazed," Hardwick said of Pickett.

"Every challenge he's had this year, he's raised the bar. I look at our VFL final against Essendon, we weren't playing that well and his last quarter helped get them over the line.

"Don't get me wrong, Marlion is going to be an important player. But he's not going to be the difference in the game. We've got some really good players who I expect to play a great brand of footy against a formidable opponent in Greater Western Sydney.

"We just expect him to play his role, we don't expect him to be a match-winner. But we're looking forward to him bringing his strengths on the big stage."

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Richmond captain Trent Cotchin also reiterated that Pickett wouldn't be deterred by the occasion, suggesting his maturity and leadership at VFL level reflects his calm demeanour.

"It's a funny one," Cotchin said.

"Obviously there's a lot of excitement about a guy where his background speaks for itself.

"The way he's come into the footy club, it's been impressive. He's been unassuming.

"You speak to the guys who have played with him at VFL level and they look to him just for that level of maturity and calmness.

"On the flipside, it's disappointing for the likes of Jack Graham to have the injury he did and for the guys who have unfortunately not been given the opportunity to play."

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin says Pickett shouldn't be overawed by the occasion. Picture: AFL Photos

Richmond said it treated the Grand Final like any other game during its team selection process, leading to Pickett's unlikely and surprising inclusion in the side.

It comes after the lively midfielder won the Norm Goss Medal for the best player in the VFL Grand Final last week, having finished with 20 disposals, nine tackles and a goal.

"We made the call (on Thursday)," Hardwick said.

"We had a fair idea. There were three or four guys we were throwing around, but in fairness you think about the event that's coming up and you look at the first game … but we thought if it was round 16, we'd pick the kid to play. We backed in our gut.

"It's a great story and a lot of people will tell you that, but the reality is this kid can play, so we're really excited to give him an opportunity. He's worked incredibly hard to get that and he's played some really good footy along the way.

"We think he's going to be a valuable player for us tomorrow."

Richmond had been considering Pickett for his senior debut much earlier in the season, but couldn't fit him into a side that has won its last 11 matches in a streak dating back to June.

However, an unfortunate shoulder injury to young midfielder Graham – sustained in last week's preliminary final win over Geelong – now gives the former WAFL star his chance.

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"We'd started to solidify our side a little bit," Hardwick said.

"An unfortunate incident with Jack Graham opened that door.

"There are a couple of boys who are very stiff not to play. Jack Ross and Kamdyn McIntosh were very close, as was Sydney Stack. We were hoping to get him back also.

"But Marlion enjoys his chance, and I'm sure he'll be a good player for us."