2015 SuperCoach Average: 42 (5 games)
2016 SuperCoach Average: 74.8 (6 games)
JLTCS Average: 108.5 (88 vs Adel and 129 vs PA)
Current Ownership: 15.6%
In this segment, a player usually comes under the ‘bargain’ or the ‘breakout’ label.
However, one could argue that Richmond recruit Toby Nankervis justifies both descriptions.
Nank the Tank – as he has been affectionately named by some – appears to have Richmond’s number one ruck mantle in his grasp thanks to an impressive JLT Community Series to date.
Increasing his chances are the continual demise of Ivan Maric and an injury to Richmond’s #1 ruckman of last year, Shaun Hampson (as well as his inability to do anything other than tap the ball in a ruck contest), leaving him in doubt for the season opener.
In truth, a large stick probably could have been Richmond’s ruckman last season and had greater impact around the ground than Hampson.
Nankervis was starved of opportunity at Sydney behind Kurt Tippett, the emerging Sam Naismith, Callum Sinclair and previously, Myke Pike. He managed a respectable average of 74 SuperCoach points from his six matches last year and interestingly was ranked number one in the AFL for hitouts-to-advantage percentage (38%).
At the beginning of the JLT Community Series, he was on our radars, but there wasn’t a great deal of confidence in the former Swan from SuperCoaches – understandable considering he has played just the 11 games in his short career.
We are all wary of the Lumumba Factor* during the pre-season competition, but you can’t help but get a bit excited about the prospect of this hunk of a lad.
The Nank has notched up totals of 88 and 129 in his first two matches, showing prowess in the middle and up forward in the yellow and black. His contested marking was a feature and he showed no trouble getting his hands on the footy, claiming 15 disposals in both matches.
Admittedly, we should take these results with a grain of salt, taking into account the ruck opposition at Adelaide and Port Adelaide. Nankervis battled with Sam Jacobs until he was rested for the second half in JLT 1, facing young ruckman Reilly O’Brien for the remainder. I’d even back Hampson to give young Reilly a run for his money around the ground.
As for his second matchup, we know Port Adelaide possess a crustacean in Matthew Lobbe and an underdone Paddy Ryder – who did not record a possession in the first half on Sunday.
Nonetheless, you can only play the side you are put up against and Uncle Toby looked pretty darn good.
The real test will be when he comes up against premier ruckman Brodie Grundy next week. A strong showing in this game will have many jumping on him – and who can blame them!
15.6% of SuperCoaches already have him in their sides – a number that would have climbed steeply after his performance on the weekend.
The big question with Nankervis is: can he be picked as a ruck?
For me, it’s a resounding no. With Sandilands’ outstanding effort on the weekend and every man and his dog picking Gawn, it would be very risky. Add in the likes of Goldstein (if fit) and Brodie Grundy and the decision to punt on the largely inexperienced Nankervis in this all important position over these blokes appears foolish.
But, is he good enough to be picked as a third or fourth forward? Certainly.
Dual position status is a valuable commodity and the opportunity to pick a side’s #1 ruckman as a forward doesn’t come around too often – especially when the amount of premium forwards is scarce. For many, it may be a case of Roughead vs Nankervis for that third or fourth forward spot, and ideally, this is the position where you would want him to be.
With someone like Luke Strnadica or Darcy Cameron at R3, you could swing Nankervis into your Rucks in the event of a short-term injury, making him even more worthwhile.
For those who think he is an absolute no, you probably aren’t reading this… but if you are, remember that a ruck recruit by the name of Ivan Maric came to the Tigers in 2012 and started the year at a price of $338k. He averaged a handy 113 points per game that year… Food for thought.
At a price tag of $366k, signs are pointing towards a fabled ‘breakout year’ and if he can average 90+ across the season– a total that is not out of his reach as a #1 and sole ruckman – he looms as a bargain buy.
Watch Nank’s progress in the dress rehearsal of JLT4 vs Grundy and decide for yourself. In saying this, if Richmond decides to pick Hampson AND Nankervis in the same side come Round 1, he isn’t really worth your time.
* Lumumba Factor – A player who scores above expectation in the pre-season competition and then proceeds to burn you in the regular season by scoring poorly. A tease.
Dan finished 746th in SC 2016 as Batten Hiscox