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Jack Riewoldt will move further from goals in 2014

Jack Riewoldt in action during the 2013 AFL Round 19 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Richmond Tigers at the MCG, Melbourne on August 03, 2013. (Photo: Andrew White/AFL Media)
Damien Hardwick sees value in moving Jack Riewoldt down the ground
I've got no doubt the way (Riewoldt) played this year made our side better
Damien Hardwick
DAMIEN Hardwick plans to use Jack Riewoldt in a "traditional centre half forward role" next year after what he described as one of the goal-kickers best seasons.

Riewoldt, 24, kicked 58 goals this year after Coleman medal-winning seasons in 2010 and 2012, and still finished as the club's leading goal-kicker despite a slightly reduced output.

However, he also led the club for goal assists and ran third in the competition in that category behind Hawthorn's Luke Breust and Sydney Swan Kieren Jack.  

He roamed up and down the ground at times and dragged his opponent away from goal, which allowed Tyrone Vickery more room to move as the main target.

But next year, with the arrival of Shaun Hampson – who will free up Ivan Maric to spend more time in attack – and the expected debut of young forward Liam McBean, Riewoldt could find himself in a revised role.

"His role next year? It will be interesting. We've certainly got some forwards with Ty, young McBean we think will come through, Ivan we'd like to get down there at various stages," Hardwick told the club's website.

"We might look at him more as a traditional centre half forward role, roaming across that area, because he's very clever when he does get the ball.

"That way he'll probably still kick us 30 or 40 goals as well, but then he'll certainly help set up some also."

Riewoldt's career has been coloured by his competitive and emotional nature, which has often spilled onto the field when things haven't gone his way.

He's been accused of being petulant and triple Carlton premiership forward Mark Maclure labelled him a "prima donna" in May this year after he kicked one goal and collected 10 possessions against Fremantle.

But Hardwick said the selfless role Riewoldt had played in 2013 had contributed to him registering "one of his best years", and he had taken a "massive" step in his development.

"Obviously, everyone likes to see the full forwards kicking goals and I'm probably a little bit the same but I also love the team aspect of the way he played," he said.

"I've got no doubt the way he played this year made our side better.

"It improved Ty Vickery as a player, [Luke] McGuane and [Aaron] Edwards had cameo roles also and he played a real team orientated game at stages, for example, taking opposition key backs up the ground, which allowed Ty to kick more goals.

"The goal assists and score assists for us is really important and he led the AFL in that category.

"It was a big tick for Jack. One of the knocks on him as a player for whatever reason was that he was selfish but he's proven that not the case.

"One thing we probably missed a little bit this year was his contested marking.

"It was down but probably that was more aligned to the fact that opposition defenders blocked his run a little bit, which is something the AFL is trying to strike out so we look forward to that getting rectified next year."

Twitter: @AFL_JenPhelan