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Tigers' interstate record no concern for Hardwick

Tigers to ponder tag on 51-touch Neale Damien Hardwick says he will have to consider whether to back his boys in or apply a tag to Lions' star Lachie Neale after his stellar 51-touch performance

RICHMOND will back its interstate record when it travels to the Gabba for the qualifying final, after setting up a rematch with Brisbane in two weeks.

The Tigers had to win on Sunday to land a top-four spot and a double chance in September, and they delivered with a 27-point win at the MCG.

But next time around they'll take on the Lions away from home, in their first trip away from their home ground since round 16.

Shai Bolton attempts to break a Lachie Neale tackle. Picture: AFL Photos

The Tigers have won three of five road trips this year, after dropping four of five games away from home last year, but coach Damien Hardwick is confident his group is ready for a Queensland hit-and-run mission.

"I think we've got a really good record interstate compared to most other sides and our boys enjoy getting away together," he said.

"We'll approach the week stock standard, go up on the usual flight, train at the Gabba and then run out and play some good footy.

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"They've lost a couple of games there this year but the good thing is the dimensions are pretty similar to the 'G so it's not going to be anything foreign to us and our boys play pretty well there.

"In saying that, they're a bloody good side so it's going to be a tough game."

Hardwick, who was careful with his comments post-game with another clash against the Lions looming, said the Tigers would consider changing their plans for Brisbane gun Lachie Neale.

Neale was outstanding against Richmond, gathering 51 disposals and 14 clearances and powering the Lions back into the game after a slow start.

"We'll have a look at [changing what we do], no doubt. That's the good and bad thing that you play the same side two weeks in a row, we'll get a good look at what they did and they'll also get a really good look at what we did as well," he said.

"We try to quell the influence at the source, and he's very agile in and around the stoppages. His agility can get him in and out of traffic pretty quickly but [it also makes] you reactive as well.

"It's a bit of a double-edge sword in a way where you can be a little bit too dictated to, so whether we back in our boys, we'll have a look at it and make a better assessment."

The Tigers will likely have have 2017 premiership ruckman Toby Nankervis available for the first final after missing the round 23 clash with a groin injury.  

 

Ivan Soldo performed well against Brisbane ruckman Stefan Martin with 29 hit-outs and 14 disposals, so Hardwick has his options.

"It's a nagging type of injury. He trained today and he looked okay but it's an injury that will take some managing," Hardwick said.

"The rigours of AFL footy and rucking against some bigger type of opponents he probably didn't handle as well as we'd have liked last time [he came back from injury].

"Hopefully he pulls up okay and we can suit him up for Saturday week [against the Lions]."