Rookie ruck could be Richmond’s answer

Richmond could unveil rookie ruckman Samson Ryan against Essendon as a replacement for Toby Nankervis, who played all of last week’s game with an injury so bad he could miss a month of football.

Shane Edwards, who co-designed the Tigers jumper for Indigenous round, will also return for the Dreamtime in the West clash in Perth, with Richmond looking to extend a 10-match winning streak against the Bombers.

Coach Damien Hardwick said Ryan, a 206cm ruckman who was Richmond’s first pick in last year’s AFL draft, could help meet his desire to play “three talls with the ruck” not just this week but going forward too.

In the absence of Nankervis and Tom Lynch, Callum Coleman-Jones and Mabior Chol, who kicked goals between then against Adelaide last week, could play forward with Jack Riewoldt and Samson potentially come in for his debut.

“We‘ve got a couple of options – it’s whether we go smaller in the ruck,” Hardwick said.

“We‘re really excited by a young tall that we’ve got in Samson Ryan that will maybe get an opportunity as well.

“We‘d like to get that to try and work a little bit better moving forward and play possibly the three talls with the ruck.

“We‘re getting a really good opportunity to have a look at how that works now. It might take one step back to go two steps forward, but we think in the long term, it’ll be a really good look for us because they can all play.”

Giant Richmond rookie Samson Ryan. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL PhotosSource:Supplied

Hardwick praised the toughness of Nankervis, who suffered a PCL injury at the first bounce against Adelaide last week and played out the game.

“We initially thought it would be one to two (out) weeks, but and this is testament to Toby Nankervis, how tough he is, the damage was a little bit worse,” he said.

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Mid-season draft recruit Matt Parker, who is in Perth playing for South Fremantle, should link up with the Tigers when they head west on Friday.

Hardwick said Richmond had enjoyed success with other players given a second chance, like two-time premiership player Marlion Pickett.

He hoped Parker, who spent two years at St Kilda before being delisted and heading back home, could be another.

“Matt fits the bill (for Richmond) – he’s dynamic, he’s quick, he can run and he wins the ball,” Hardwick said.

“He gets a second opportunity and we are excited and honoured to give him that.

“We have had a lot of players go through that same path that have proved to be wonderful players for us, and we expect Matt to be exactly the same.”

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