Ruck tandem key to Brisbane AFL flag quest

Ruckman Stefan Martin (left) looms an influential figure in Brisbane's AFL finals campaign.
Ruckman Stefan Martin (left) looms an influential figure in Brisbane's AFL finals campaign.

Oscar McInerney has welcomed Stefan Martin's return from injury, believing the two-pronged ruck approach gives Brisbane their best chance at winning the AFL premiership.

Martin missed nine matches with a stress fracture in his back this year, giving McInerney the chance to take the lead ruck role for a large portion of the season.

The 26-year-old understudy excelled, helping the Lions secure a top-two spot and two home finals.

But he is happy to split the duties with veteran Martin again as they prepare to take on Richmond dual premiership ruckman Toby Nankervis in Friday night's qualifying final at the Gabba.

"I'm so lucky to play almost all my games with Stef, who's been such a great mentor for me, and now to get him back for the business end of the season is such an exciting thing," McInerney told AAP.

"Personally I love having Stef's experience out there and the impact he has on the game is phenomenal.

"He's one of the best ruckmen in the competition and if the coaches keep picking us we'll keep competing well and trying to own the competition."

Martin returned in Brisbane's win over Carlton in round 18 and will be better for the run leading into the finals.

McInerney, now in his third season after his 2017 rookie draft selection, believes the pair complement each other well and can play key roles in the Lions' flag push.

"We're quite different in our ruck craft," McInerney said.

"I'm sort of tall and lanky whereas he's got the great craft and great strength, the ability to combat really well with all his experience.

"Also, we both love to contribute forward, whether that's taking marks or bringing the ball to ground for Charlie Cameron, Cam Rayner and Linc McCarthy.

"So as long as we're contributing in multiple areas of the game I think it can really work for us well."

Brisbane have not beaten Richmond since 2009 and wasted the two most recent chances to end the drought with poor accuracy in front of goal in round 10 this season and last year's qualifying final.

"They're one of the great sides of the competition at the moment and they're travelling really well," McInerney said.

"We've taken plenty of learnings from the last couple of times we played them and it will be a big test for our group to see if we can apply those and get the result we're after."

Australian Associated Press