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Jack-obsessed Tigers 'butchered' goal chances

Dimma: 'Won't win too many with one player kicking 10' Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has praised Jack Riewoldt for his 10-goal haul but says his side will be looking for a more even spread of goal kickers

IT WASN’T quite Pagan's paddock but the free space left open for Richmond's Jack Riewoldt to lead into was key to his 10-goal haul according to coach Damien Hardwick.

Riewoldt's goal-scoring heroics were the big talking point to come from the Tigers 19.11 (125) to 7.9 (51) away win against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

The 74-point victory secured the reigning premiers a top-two spot on the ladder, guaranteeing them a home final and a double chance as they seek to go back to back.

TIGERS SCORCH SUNS Full match coverage and stats

While Richmond typically had an even spread of contributors across the ground, Riewoldt's 10-goal bag was the stand-out individual performance.

Hardwick said that while focusing forward entries on Riewoldt led to some wasted chances, he praised the forward's performance as another high point in what has been a strong season.

"I think there was a lot of space in the forward half of the ground, so he got a lot of lead-up opportunities. I think he took 13 marks inside 50m," Hardwick said.

"(What) probably tends to happen is, when you're probably around six or seven goals, the players start look to you a little too much and probably butchered a couple of opportunities going forward.

"Once again it’s a great individual highlight and Jack will enjoy it."

JACK'S IMPERFECT 10 Five talking points

Hardwick said he had spoken to the players about trying to spread the goalkicking around, but once Riewoldt looked likely to nab a big haul, it was hard for his players to look for other options.

"At the end of the day if he's open, guys will kick it to him and he was open a fair bit obviously," Hardwick said. 

He said Riewoldt's improvement this year was the measure of a player "that's gone from good to great."

WATCH Damien Hardwick's full post match press conference

"He's had a wonderful season. He's got on the end of some today, but I really value the other things he does, his knock-ons, his ability to create one v twos, that sort of stuff is the stuff that coaches look for as well. "

While pleased with a top-two spot, Hardwick said his team was looking forward to next week's clash with the in-form Essendon.

"We accept that we've now locked up the top two and (it) gets us a home final which is terrific," he said.

"As a coach and as a playing group we look forward to our next challenge, which is Essendon.

GAMEBREAKER Unstoppable Jack's 10-goal haul

"They're playing some really good footy, probably one of the form sides of the competition over the last 10 weeks.

"So we've got a big challenge ahead next week, six-day break off travel, once again it's going to be a tough challenge but our boys have done it before and I'm sure they'll respond in kind and do it again."

Hardwick said it was pleasing to see Bachar Houli and Jack Graham play well on their return, and also highlighted the efforts of Ivan Soldo in his first game for the year.