Richmond ruckman Toby Nankervis
RICHMOND has downplayed any significant injury concerns surrounding Toby Nankervis, with the Tigers taking the opportunity to manage the star ruckman appropriately ahead of Saturday’s clash with Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
Nankervis has a corked quad and pulled up sore after last Friday night’s clash against Geelong. Young big man Ivan Soldo gets the chance to come into the team after solid form in the VFL.
Tigers assistant coach Justin Leppitsch said the club was making sure Nankervis’s body was in top shape heading into September.
“Toby was a bit sore coming off the game, so you obviously don’t want to take any risks this time of year,” Leppitsch said at Melbourne Airport on Friday morning.
“If it was a Grand Final tomorrow, would he play? Probably yes, but we just think how important he is to us.
“He’s probably the only one that we would afford that luxury to.”
The Tigers have brought back premiership stars Dion Prestia (rib), Nathan Broad (calf), Jack Graham (shoulder) and Bachar Houli (calf) for the game against the Suns.
Liam Baker, Connor Menadue, Jacob Townsend and Sam Lloyd are the unlucky Tigers players to make way for the important quartet.
Emerging forward Dan Rioli checked in for the flight to the Gold Coast despite carrying a right knee concern.
“He’s fine. He’s pulled up with a little niggle after the game, but he’s right to go,” Leppitsch said.
Jacob Townsend was Richmond’s travelling emergency.
Leppitsch said Graham, who has missed the last three games after dislocating his shoulder against Adelaide in round 16, had improved quickly.
“Graham probably wasn’t playing for most of the week, but he trained so well and his shoulder was that good at training that we thought he was worthy of an inclusion,” Leppitsch said.
Soldo will play his first game for the year after seven in 2017, with the Tigers preferring the combination of Nankervis and back-up Shaun Grigg.
“It’s a possibility that we might need that extra ruckman,” Leppitsch said.
“We did at times last season … so if we can get a good look at Ivan Soldo and he does a really good job that’s going to be a big consideration for us.”
Houli played the first half in the VFL last week, gathering 15 disposals before sitting out after the major break against Geelong.
“Being a nearly 30-year-old guy, we think he’s done enough to get into the game this week,” Leppitsch said.
Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS