Richmond skipper Nankervis back in AFL Dreamtime boost
Richmond co-captain Toby Nankervis is set to return from injury in a huge boost for the Tigers in their blockbuster AFL clash with Essendon.
Nankervis underwent ankle surgery last month and has been sidelined since round four.
But the 28-year-old ruckman has been named to take on imposing Bombers duo Sam Draper and Andrew Phillips at a sold-out MCG on Saturday night.
The Tigers have lost gun midfielder Jacob Hopper (calf) and dropped Ben Miller to make way for Nankervis as they seek a third straight win.
"I got through training and felt pretty good and put my hand up," Nankervis told reporters on Thursday.
"I won't play unless I'm absolutely right and I feel like I'm in a position where I can play my best footy.
"I've said that and hopefully I get the nod from 'Dimma' (coach Damien Hardwick)."
Nankervis is also nursing an injured left little finger, which he had bandaged at the "Dreamtime at the 'G" launch on Thursday.
"It's just hanging on still," he said.
"Footy's a pretty brutal industry, so I've got a few injuries here and there."
Essendon have regained key defender Jordan Ridley, who could line up alongside Tigers spearhead Jack Riewoldt, but lost Will Setterfield for an extended period with a fractured foot.
Melbourne defender Christian Salem will play his first game of the season against Port Adelaide in Friday night's huge clash at Adelaide Oval.
Dees forward Tom McDonald replaces injured teammate Harrison Petty (foot).
The Power have recalled ruckman Scott Lycett to take on Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy but Charlie Dixon (quad) is still unavailable.
North Melbourne will unveil prized draftee George Wardlaw as one of six inclusions when Brett Ratten takes the coaching reins against Sydney on Saturday.
Ratten has stepped up in the absence of Alastair Clarkson, who has taken a leave of absence nine games into his stint at Arden St.
Aidan Corr is out suspended, while Cameron Zurhaar (jaw), Jack Mahony (shoulder), Flynn Perez (concussion), Luke Davies-Uniacke and Darcy Tucker (both hamstring) are all unavailable.
Aaron Hall, Will Phillips, Tom Powell, Callum Coleman-Jones and Eddie Ford have all been recalled.
Swans ruckman Peter Ladhams returns from an arm injury in place of Tom Hickey (concussion), with Logan McDonald (ankle), Callum Mills (calf) and Marc Sheather (foot) also out.
Adelaide have lost Tom Doedee (concussion) and Riley Thilthorpe (knee) to injuries for their clash with the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat and opted to rest veteran Taylor Walker, while the Dogs have dropped Alex Keath for Tim O'Brien.
Lachie Gollant, Elliott Himmelberg and Nick Murray were named in the Crows' side.
After two appearances as substitute, Nat Fyfe has been named in Fremantle's 22 for the meeting with Geelong, who have regained Jack Henry and Tyson Stengle from injuries and Brad Close from suspension.
Mitch Duncan (hamstring), Jhye Clark (foot) and Oliver Henry (ruptured testicle) are out injured.
Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew has swung the axe ahead of the derby clash with Brisbane, chopping Hewago Oea, Tom Berry and Mabior Chol for Ben Ainsworth, Nick Holman and Levi Casboult.
Toby Greene's expected return headlines Sunday's fixtures with the GWS captain named in the extended squad to take on St Kilda.
The Saints have confirmed Max King will play his first game of the season.