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Finals recall looms for Nankveris after recovery from VFL heroics

Hardwick and Cotchin preview Brisbane Damien Hardwick and Trent Cotchin address the media at the Swinburne Centre ahead of the Qualifying Final against Brisbane.

RICHMOND ruckman Toby Nankervis looks likely to play against Brisbane and form a two-pronged attack with Ivan Soldo for Saturday night's qualifying final.

Nankervis has pulled up well from his starring role in the VFL, when he booted the winning goal to go with 33 hitouts, 22 disposals and three tackles from around 68 per cent game time.

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It was his first game back after two weeks on the sidelines with groin soreness related to the 11-week adductor injury he suffered earlier this year.

Richmond has chosen one of Nankervis or Soldo as the No.1 ruck this season, with raw athletic utilities Mabior Chol and Noah Balta filling the forward/ruck role, but Soldo's strong form seems to have forced the likely pairing.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said the big man had put his hand up to play.

"He's pulled up reasonably well today (Monday), so that's exciting for us. He'll train again tomorrow, then have a big session on Thursday, and we'll be able to make a more calculated call," Hardwick said.

"He started off a little bit slow (in the VFL), but then I thought he was probably the difference in the second half of the game, he was terrific.

"We're really keen to welcome him back and provided he gets through training, he'll be available to play, which is exciting for us."

It will be a rare double act from Nankervis and Soldo, who last played in the same AFL side in round 21, 2017 and have featured together just seven times, usually in the absence of Jack Riewoldt up forward.

Balta (corked leg) also still remains in the selection frame, despite missing the weekend's VFL game.

"We're probably going to go down the two-ruck path, so [Nankervis will] play as first or second ruck and only play that amount of time (68 per cent) for our footy club. That'll give him every opportunity to build on from there," Hardwick said.

"I think Ivan's been terrific. He had a slow first quarter last week, but the back end of his last three quarters was outstanding. He's just improved every week.

"From where he's come from, about four or five years ago, basically walking off the street to try out (as a Category B rookie), he's been incredible. He's got better and better every game, he's still learning, but we're happy with what he's been putting out on the park."

Round 23 was skipper Trent Cotchin's first game since his third hamstring injury for the year, with the timing of the pre-finals bye less than ideal for building momentum upon his return.

The captain spoke alongside his coach at a pre-finals press conference, saying he wasn't sure what mix of forward and midfield time he would play after spending large periods inside 50 at the MCG against the Lions.

"Going into round 23, aside from carrying a little bit of baggage from being injured throughout the year, I was really pleased with how the body was feeling from a bash-and-crash point of view," Cotchin said.

"Typically, I fall over the line at the back end of the year and hang out for that bye just before finals, but it's been a little bit different for me personally. I'm just really excited to sink my teeth into this weekend's game."

The Tigers are in the unusual position of playing the Lions in successive games, having beaten the second-placed side by 27 points in round 23.

Brisbane's All Australian midfielder Lachie Neale had 51 disposals in that match, but Hardwick wouldn't be drawn on whether a tagger will be employed.

"We're very much a systems-based side, so we'll back in our players to play their roles. We have contingencies when things get out of control," he said.

"It was a really difficult situation for us. We were probably five or six goals up and Lachie was having a significant impact … so we backed in our system and let it play for the vast majority of the game.

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"Brisbane are very fortunate they have a fantastic midfield, (Dayne) Zorko is another player and he, I thought, had a significant impact on the game: 700 metres gained, a couple of goals and possession-wise was very high.

"So, they've got a number of good players that run through that part of the ground, and you might be able to take out one, but good sides can cover the loss."