Toby Nankervis may be limited to just a cameo appearance in this year’s finals series with the man he replaced for Sydney’s semi-final win a chance to return.
Nankervis finished with 16 hit-outs and collected 15 possessions in what was his seventh game this season
The former Northern Bomber from George Town was drafted into the Swans’ side for their must-win encounter with Adelaide as a replacement for Kurt Tippett, who suffered a fractured jaw in the qualifying final against Greater Western Sydney.
But Tippett is set to make a remarkable recovery and be fit for Friday night’s preliminary final against Geelong, meaning Nankervis is likely to be squeezed out.
That’s not to say that the 22-year-old didn’t look out of place in the September spotlight.
Nankervis combined well with Sam Naismith (22 hit-outs and 12 touches) to help subdue Crow big-man Sam Jacobs.
The Tasmanian played both forward and in the ruck, with Kyle Hartigan and Daniel Talia spending time on him in attack.
Nankervis finished with 16 hit-outs and collected 15 possessions in what was his seventh game this season and the 12th of his career.
The 35th pick in the 2013 national draft collected career-high disposal numbers on Saturday.
There still might be Tasmanian representation at the MCG on Friday even if Nankervis loses his place, with Geelong’s Jake Kolodjashnij part of the Cats’ team that defeated Hawthorn in the first week of the finals.
But there is a slight chance Launceston product could also find himself on the outer with the Cats needing to find a place for Lachie Henderson in their back-half.
The campaign ended for Devonport’s Grant Birchall on Friday night.
On top of how his team fared, it wasn’t the best night personally for the running defender unable to have his usual impact for the Hawks off half-back as they crashed to the Western Bulldogs.
Birchall collected just the 18 possessions at a disposal efficiency rate of 67 per cent.
He had seven intercept possessions, four marks (two intercepts), one clearance, three tackles, 11 pressure acts and three score involvements. The 28-year-old played all 24 games for Hawthorn this season, averaging 23 touches and six marks a game. It was another fine year for Birchall, whose quest for a fourth straight premiership medallion and fifth of his career were extinguished by Luke Beveridge’s men.
Including finals, Birchall was equal ninth in the league for total uncontested possessions (423) and 15th in total effective disposals (463). He was also equal 15th in total mark (147), and 20th for total uncontested possessions (17.62).
His best game for the season came in the round 12 win over Essendon, when he collected 30 touches and took 10 marks. He had another 10 games of 25 possessions or more. Friday was the 23rd final for Birchall, who has played 240 games in his career.