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Nankervis surprised at Tigers captain call

Toby Nankervis admits he was somewhat surprised to be named one of two new captains to lead Richmond’s new era as they seek to bounce back into AFL premiership contention this season.

The Tigers have appointed co-captains for the first time in their history, with Nankervis and Dylan Grimes taking the reins from long-time skipper Trent Cotchin, who stood down at the end of last year.

Superstar Dustin Martin was considered a candidate for the role, with Cotchin previously declaring his fellow Brownlow medallist “one of many” teammates who could step up as captain.

Jack Riewoldt, Nick Vlastuin and younger midfielder Jack Graham were also touted as possible skippers, with coach Damien Hardwick considering the wide array of options a strength of his side.

Nankervis’ appointment alongside Grimes is another step in his remarkable rise to prominence since his trade from Sydney six years ago, with the much-loved ruckman starring in three Richmond premierships.

The 27-year-old admitted he never aspired to be captain of the Tigers.

“I’m really confident in my relationships and the way I go about my footy, but (the appointment) is a little bit surprising,” Nankervis said.

“In saying that, there’s no reason for me not to think I can do the job and I’m really excited to attack it and just give it everything I’ve got.

“I’ll probably make some mistakes alongside Dylan but I’ll do it being myself and I’m really confident I can do that.”

Richmond initially intended to replace Cotchin – the longest serving skipper in club history – with just one captain.

But an extensive process led by Tigers head of leadership development Shane McCurry over the off-season found a Nankervis-Grimes partnership to be the best fit.

The decision was ratified by the club’s board over the weekend.

“It’s been a little bit slow but in some ways it’s really filled us with confidence that the decision that was made was the right call,” All-Australian defender and reigning Richmond best-and-fairest winner Grimes said.

“We’re super excited and incredibly humbled by that decision.

“Trent (Cotchin) is going to be a huge part of our leadership development over the next 12 months and then going forward after that.

“We’re really excited by the challenge and really looking forward to getting stuck into it.”

Martin has recovered from a lacerated kidney that cut short his 2021 campaign as Richmond tumbled out of the top-eight for the first time in five years.

The 30-year-old has impressed on the track over summer and is set to feature in pre-season games before the round-one clash with Carlton on March 17.

Martin could yet be included as part of the Tigers’ overall leadership group, which will be confirmed later this week.

“Whether he has a title or not, I’m not too sure, but he doesn’t need a title to lead,” Nankervis said.

“You watch him every weekend go about his business, he’s amazing the way he leads from the front.

“Probably no player in the competition has more impact on his teammates than Dusty.”

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