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Finals locked in but wasteful Tigers have Hardwick worried

Post-match: Tigers Watch Richmond coach Damien Hardwick's post-match press conference
Jack Riewoldt of the Tigers celebrates during the 2013 AFL Round 20 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Brisbane Lions at the MCG, Melbourne on August 10, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Jack Riewoldt kicked the sealer against the lines but the Richmond forward line didn't impress the coach
We didn't have a great day from a forward-line point of view
Damian Hardwick

RICHMOND all but guaranteed its first finals appearance since 2001 on Saturday, but coach Damien Hardwick was not in the mood to celebrate after the Tigers' 23-point win over the Brisbane Lions.

With 13 wins for the year and Greater Western Sydney to come in round 22, the Tigers' September drought can be declared over.

But after conceding seven of the game's last 10 goals to the plucky Lions at the MCG, Hardwick wasn't prepared to look forward to finals.   

"As funny as it is, I'm not overly happy and we've won by 23 points," he said.

"Ask me how that was two years ago, [I would] walk in with a big smile.

"We have three rounds to go, so we'll just worry about [finals] when we get there.

The Tigers didn't take their chances on Saturday, kicking a wasteful 5.5 in a dominant second term before losing the third (in which they were goalless) and fourth quarters.

Jack Riewoldt kicked 1.4 including the sealer, while Luke McGuane kicked 3.2 in the first half but was scoreless thereafter.

"I don't know what our set-shot conversion was today, but I guarantee you it wasn't great, so we'll be doing some work on that this week," Hardwick said.

"We controlled the game - the possession count (424-296), the contested ball (141-115), all those sorts of stats were heavily in our favour.

"Unfortunately in this game the way it is at the moment, you only get a certain number of shots.

"We didn't have a great day from a forward-line point of view."

Hardwick praised captain Trent Cotchin, who drew run-with specialist Andrew Raines in the second quarter but still finished with 30 possessions, seven inside 50s and seven clearances.

"He started off a little bit slow [this year], but he's certainly worked his way back to the form he had last year, which has been impressive," the coach said.

"Raines did a pretty good job early in the second quarter, but then he [Cotchin] just wills himself into the contest.

"He's one of those guys, a bit like Jobe Watson, who's incredibly hard to tag."

Small forward Jake King appears likely to return from a hamstring injury through the VFL next weekend after three weeks on the sidelines.

Midfielder Shane Edwards, who was withdrawn from the squad on Friday with hamstring tightness, should be available against Carlton on Saturday.

Chris Newman was hampered by a minor ankle injury on Saturday, but should also be fit to face the Blues.

Nathan Schmook is a reporter for AFL Media. Twitter: @AFL_Nathan