Richmond have made a surprise captaincy change ahead of the 2024 AFL season.
The club has decided to break its dual captaincy model and have anointed Toby Nankervis as the standalone skipper.
Nankervis will be captain for a third season in 2024, but the 29-year-old will be doing it without his former sidekick Dylan Grimes.
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In statement, the club said Grimes “decided to step down from the captaincy to allow more energy for his own individual game” and to improve his work-life balance.
The club said Grimes, 32, would remain “a sounding board for Nankervis” and the team’s other leaders.
Nankervis, a former Sydney ruck, was endorsed by the club’s board, his teammates and club staff.
Toby Nankervis will be the Tigers’ standalone skipper in 2024 while Grimes has decided to stand down. Credit: AFL Photos via Getty Images
The appointment comes as the Tigers look to climb back up the ladder with new coach Adem Yze leading the way.
Richmond won three premierships between 2017 and 2020 under Damien Hardwick but missed out on finals action this year with Hardwick quitting mid-season.
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“Being able to lead this club and our team is something I will never take for granted, so to be backed in to continue on as captain next year is a privilege,” Nankervis said.
“We have some great leaders at the footy club and are united in what we want to achieve going forward on the field and as a high-performance environment, so I am looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
The big man averaged 16.7 disposals, 32.4 hitouts, and 5.4 tackles a match this year and the club said he also drove standards behind the scenes.
Richmond performance manager Tim Livingstone said Nankervis was a standout choice to lead the group.
“Our players and coaches respect how Toby goes about his football and leadership,” he said.
“He demands high standards, keeps his messaging precise, and always puts the team first with his attitude, which is a trait that Adem (Yze), our staff, and administration particularly admired in making this decision.
“Toby has been an excellent captain across the past two years with Dylan, and he will continue to blossom as an individual and leader with the responsibility that comes with him now being our sole skipper.”
Livingstone said Grimes had been a strong leader for a long period.
“His experience and guidance will continue to be a great asset for our group, and we thank him very much for his commitment and efforts across the past two years since being appointed as our co-captain,” Livingstone said.