Shaun Grigg's early retirement from Richmond this year has paved the way for a remarkable AFL grand final story.
Tigers coach Damien Hardwick has pulled a sensational grand final selection move, with mature-aged mid-season recruit Marlion Pickett to make his AFL debut in the premiership decider against GWS.
The Tigers confirmed on Thursday afternoon that Pickett, 27, would come into the line-up to replace Jack Graham, who was ruled out on Tuesday with a dislocated shoulder.
Pickett was drafted by the yellow and black in the mid-season draft this year, following Ballarat-born Grigg's early retirement.
The selection bombshell caps a meteoric rise for the midfielder who was playing in the WAFL with South Fremantle in May when the Tigers pounced with the 13th pick at the mid-season rookie draft.
Pickett pushed his claim on a shock debut when he won the Norm Goss Medal as the best player on the field in Richmond's VFL grand final win over Williamstown last week.
"There's the emotional side of this story but (if he gets) a game it's because of his football and what he's done on the field, not because it's a great story or anything like that," Tigers assistant coach Justin Leppitsch told reporters before the move was made public.
"It's because he's deserved his opportunity, he's the best available player for this week and he's put his hand up to play this week.
"If it was round 17 it wouldn't be such a big issue, it's just the fact it's such a big occasion that it probably becomes more of an exterior issue.
"But if Marlion plays this week it's because he's earned it ... he's been in pretty good form."
It is understood Richmond will make just one change to their preliminary final side when the official teams are named on Thursday evening after defender Nathan Broad was cleared of concussion symptoms.