With Hawthorn ruckman Ben McEvoy in irresistible form, AFL legend Tim Watson says his battle with Richmond counterpart Toby Nankervis will play a pivotal role in deciding Sunday’s blockbuster at the MCG.
The 28-year-old was dominant during the Hawks one point victory over Geelong, amassing 43 hit outs and a goal, and with the reigning premiers normally going with the one ruckman, the former Essendon captain says Nankervis will need dig deep to compete for the entire game.
“He destroyed Geelong last weekend, they didn’t have a recognised ruckman against him,” Watson said on SEN Breakfast.
“Nankervis up against him, I reckon it’s going to be a real pivotal battle to this game.
“I don’t know long they can afford to leave Nankervis off the ground because it really weakens that part of their game, and McEvoy has a massive engine, and almost capable of going 95-100 percent of the game.”
The Tigers have named inexperienced ruckman Mabior Chol among their extended bench, and SEN footy analyst Daisy Pearce believes it would not be a surprise to see him named just to provide a contest when Nankervis is off the ground.
Chol’s only senior appearance came in Richmond’s 113 point loss to Sydney in Round 23, 2016.
“He (McEvoy) was outstanding last week, and probably only behind Tom Mitchell for best player on the ground,” Pearce said.
“(Damien) Hardwick this week has almost conceded he needs to start looking at a second ruck option. When you look at their ins, and it’s an extended bench, the one he is brought in is Mabior Chol, who would be more of an athletic forward who has played in the ruck.
“It would be a big ask even if he does bring that second ruck option, because McEvoy has nearly been the best ruck in the competition for the past two years.”
Listen to the live call on 1116 SEN of the Hawks-Tigers clash from 12pm on Sunday, with Gerard Whateley, Kevin Bartlett, Danny Frawley and Adam Cooney.
To hear Tim Watson and Daisy Pearce on SEN Breakfast listen in the player below: