RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick's worries about Daniel Rioli were put to rest as the Tiger kicked the match-winner in Saturday night’s four-point thriller over Greater Western Sydney.
Hardwick said he was concerned for Rioli following a week of scrutiny, after the small forward and teammate Shai Bolton were involved in an altercation at a night club last weekend.
TIGERS v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
"I thought he got his hands on a couple of important balls. His last quarter was quite special, I thought. It was great for him to finish with that goal that put us in front," Hardwick said.
"We had a tough week, there's no doubt. We just want to get out there and play, I was a little bit worried about him last night.
"(I called) back and forward a couple of times to see how he was feeling from a stress point of view, but he was adamant he wanted to play and played an important part in getting us over the line."
Hardwick said he hadn't received any indication from Rioli that the 24-year-old was wanting to withdraw from the side, but was concerned nonetheless.
"Not from him, more I was worried about him. The increased stress can lead to injury, but he was pretty cool, calm and collected on the phone.
"He's just one of those guys who loves playing the game. He just wanted to play. Good on him, sometimes it's good for him to tell me when he's playing and when he's not. It was a real positive for us."
The Tigers were 28 points down in the third quarter, but held the Giants to just two goals for the remaining quarter and a half.
"We got belted up around the ball, I thought, especially early. Our stoppage guys got to work, got the ball moving forward," Hardwick said.
"I thought GWS' pressure and intent around the contest was a little bit better than us in the first half and particularly the second quarter, then guys like Liam Baker and Dusty (Martin) got to work and started to get the ball moving in our direction, which is really important."
Giants coach Leon Cameron was fairly sombre after the game, pleased with the experience the contest gave his young side but frustrated with the result.
"Clearly, you want to be on the other end. Disappointing we lost, clearly, we took it right up to them with such a young team," Cameron said.
"We were going through it this week, we’ve got a lot of kids in our team and we’re really proud for three and a bit quarters, which was great, a great experience to play such a good team like the Tigers down here.
"It’s disappointing to lose a game you’re in a position to win. We’ve got to learn. It’s our fault, credit to them, our fault we lost the game because moments throughout the second half we just needed a little more composure and we didn’t have that, but they kept coming."
Jesse Hogan broke the game open with what looked like a match-winning four-goal turn in the second quarter.
"He did light us up in that second quarter, which is pleasing. I think every game he plays he’s going to slot in for us, he’s hungry and he’s eager, he has buy-in, which is great," Cameron said.
"And if you have that among the group, doesn’t matter if you’ve come from another footy club or you started out your journey at our club, it’s a pleasure to coach. It was good to see him hit the scoreboard again, but equally, he competes in the air as well."
Cameron said the severity of winger Harry Perryman's hamstring injury would be confirmed in the next 48 hours, and he hopes hamstrung pair Nick Haynes and Sam Reid would return next week.