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Tiger Toby’s flying start

Round 2: Nankervis selling candy Toby Nankervis shows great movement and composure in the dying minutes of the final term against Collingwood.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 30: Toby Nankervis of the Tigers and Brodie Grundy of the Magpies compete in a ruck contest during the 2017 AFL round 02 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 30, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Toby Nankervis rucking against Collingwood's Brodie Grundy on Thursday night

The instant impact Richmond’s new No. 1 ruckman Toby Nankervis has had in the Tigers’ line-up, is further highlighted through an interesting individual statistic emanating from last Thursday night’s clash with Collingwood at the MCG.

Nankervis, playing just his second game for Richmond after transferring from Sydney during last year’s AFL trade period, had the most contested possessions by a Tigers ruckman in a match since 2003.

The 199cm, 106kg, 22-year-old had 14 contested possessions (21 disposals all-up) in Richmond’s 19-point victory over the Magpies.

He also finished with an equal team-high seven clearances, six inside-50s, three rebound-50s, five marks and 18 hit-outs.

In terms of contested-ball numbers, you have to go all the way back to Round 17 of the ’03 season to find a better performance by a rucking Tiger.

That’s when Brad Ottens had 18 contested possessions in a match against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, which Richmond won by 60 points.

Nankervis’ top-class ruck display last Thursday night earned him high praise from Tiger teammate Shane Edwards.

“He was on fire,” Edwards told ‘K-Rock’ post-game.

“He’s got a nice left foot as well for a ruckman, so that’s come in pretty handy for us.

“He’s a combination of being good in the contest, he’s got quick hands for a big guy, and he’s also good on the outside when we get it to him.

“He’s not quick, but he can use it by foot.

“He’s a smart guy as well, so he’s always in the right places.

“You just need your big guys to fight, and he does that every time, every training session. He’s a tough bloke.”