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Makeshift forward line delivers without Jack

Hardwick: 'Our best footy is ahead' Damien Hardwick won't let his side get complacent as they look to cement a top four finish
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 29:  Shane Edwards of the Tigers is chaired from the field after his 200th match during the round 19 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Richmond Tigers at Metricon Stadium on July 29, 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia.  (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images/AFL Media)
The Tigers celebrated Shane Edwards' 200th game with a win

IT WAS a case of no Riewoldt, no worries, for Richmond in its 33-point victory over Gold Coast. 

Star forward Jack Riewoldt has been a reliable presence inside 50 for the Tigers, and missed his first match in 87 games after suffering a scratched cornea at training.

Full match coverage and stats

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick resisted the temptation to bring in Todd Elton as a tall replacement, instead relying on a makeshift forward line of ruckman Toby Nankervis, stocky forward Josh Caddy and many, many small forwards.

"It was challenging. Obviously when you have one of the elite forwards in the competition not playing, I've had this guy play for me for eight years and the team is really used to having a focal point up forward," Hardwick said. 

"We slotted Josh Caddy into that role pretty well, he looked really lively at various stages, just didn't get the scoreboard result he was after.

"Nank [Nankervis], I thought, complemented him also. We look forward to welcoming [Riewoldt] back next week, should only be a one-week injury."

WATCH: Nankervis roars up forward

Nankervis kicked three goals, all in the second quarter, and was an effective key forward against an undermanned Suns defence missing co-captain Steven May. 

"To get three goals out of Nank, if you had said to me at the start of the game you'd get that, you'd walk away pretty happy. He missed a soda from the goalsquare as well, but we'll take three goals. Thought he provided a good contest for our small players, too."

The mosquito fleet was up and firing, even if their aim was a little bit wayward. Jason Castagna was the main culprit, kicking three goals (including a spectacular banana from the boundary just before three-quarter time) but also had three behinds. 

"He's [Castagna] a really smart player and just creates opportunities for himself and others. I'm glad he's started to get his kicking boots on because he butchered a couple of chances early," Hardwick said. 

"He does generate a lot of shots on goal. We've been really pleased with how he's going, defensively he's really good as well." 

Five talking points: Gold Coast v Richmond  

Daniel Rioli got the ball rolling for the Tigers early, and Hardwick said it was good to see lively forward, who is sometimes missed by teammates, get on the scoreboard. 

"I thought he was great. He kicked three first-quarter goals, then gave away another three [to teammates] throughout the course of the night. I wouldn't say it's a bag, but it's a small step forward for him, there's no doubt about that," he said. 

WATCH: Damien Hardwick's full post-match media conference

The win consolidated Richmond's spot in the top four, and sets up an exciting clash against the in-form Hawthorn next Sunday. The Tigers have a good record over the Hawks, but Hardwick believes it will still be a big test.

"Are we playing our best footy? Nope, we've got a little way to go with that. But we're creating ourselves enough chances to get the results we're after," he said.

"But as I've said all along, our best footy, I feel, is still in front of us. We're going, but we're not going as well as we'd like."