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Grand recollections: Toby Nankervis

Grand recollections: Nankervis Toby Nankervis reflects on the 2017 Premiership.

We continue our special post-season series revealing the thoughts of Richmond’s latest premiership heroes on that wonderful one day in September 2017. Today, the Tigers’ new No. 1 ruckman Toby Nankervis reflects on the tremendous triumph. 

Grand Final lead-up

“It was an awesome week and we tried to keep it as normal as we could. The parade was obviously pretty special. To see the support we had from our fans, and I had a few of my family over, so it was just amazing to share it with them as well.” 

The big game itself

“It was fierce . . . it was always going to be a tough game. They’re such a good team, Adelaide. We knew we had to be at our best to compete with them. The game’s a bit of a blur, actually. Hopefully I’ll get to sit down and have a good look at it because it’s pretty amazing.” 

Quarter-time message from ‘Dimma’

“We know we’re a four-quarter team and we don’t have to win the game in the first quarter. We weren’t playing as well as we knew we could and there were a few things that we had to tweak. But we were always confident we could come back after the first quarter.”

The final siren

“It was amazing . . . The last five minutes of the game, we were a few goals up, and we just started soaking it in and really enjoying it. The final siren was just sharing it with the boys. The VFL boys, as well, were coming on the ground. And to see my family after the game was just amazing.”

The significance of being a premiership player

“It sounds funny saying that because it sort of hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it means so much . . .”

Close-knit ruck unit

“Led by big ‘Ivvy’ (Ivan Maric), and it’s a terrific group that we’ve got there. We really support each other . . . Ivan Soldo, who played a few (senior) games this year, ‘Hammer’ (Shaun Hampson), with a few injuries, and ‘Grigga’ (Shaun Grigg) played a bit of ruck at the back-end of the year, which was good. We had a good group.”

His decision to leave Sydney and join Richmond

“You don’t get much time to reflect, obviously, during the year, but it’s just been amazing and I probably can’t really comprehend it. I didn’t expect that, but it’s pretty amazing.”

Narrowly missing out on a Grand Final with the Swans in 2016

“It was so disappointing last year . . . but it was a new year, so I just moved on. I had to really work hard to earn my place this year. We had such a terrific group and, hopefully, we can play well again next year.”

Managing his big ruck load

“I love playing that position and it was so good of them to show confidence in me and, hopefully, I repaid that. It was pretty taxing on the body and half-way through the year I probably started to feel it a bit. But ‘Burgey’ (Club’s Physical Performance Manager Peter Burge) was terrific for me and really freshened me up. It’s such a terrific group of young boys, it’s hard to be flat. So I suppose I’ll be better off for playing this year . . . have another big pre-season, hopefully, and go again.”

Looking ahead to season 2018

“We’ve got such a young group of players . . . I think with another pre-season, another year in the gym, we’ll naturally improve from there. But we’ll have to come back pre-season to really improve, and we know we have to do that to get back to where we were.”