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Hardwick's Dusty gamble pays off for Richmond

QF: Hardwick post-match Damien Hardwick addresses the media following the qualifying final win over Brisbane.

RICHMOND gambled on playing Dustin Martin as a near permanent forward against Brisbane, and the plan paid off.

The move came through for the Tigers in their 47-point qualifying final win over the Lions on Saturday night, with Martin kicking an equal career-best six goals.

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The superstar midfielder played predominantly close to goal, where the Lions had no answers for his explosive mix of smarts, craft and power.

Coach Damien Hardwick said it was all part of Richmond's tactics heading into the crunch clash, with the Tigers keen to isolate Martin deep in attack.

"We thought we could get an advantage down there. I thought Jack [Riewoldt] and Tom [Lynch] at various stages looked very dangerous as well and we thought if we could engage their third taller defender we thought that might work for us," he said post-game.

"They play really high defensively, so we thought if we could get that one-on-one match-up out the back [it would be good] and it worked for us tonight."

The Lions midfield performed strongly the last time the sides met, in round 23, when Brownlow Medal contender Lachie Neale gathered 51 disposals.

Hugh McCluggage, Dayne Zorko, Jarrod Berry and Mitch Robinson have been crucial to Brisbane's success this season in the midfield, but Hardwick backed his side to control the middle, so they could make best use of Martin in the forward half.

"It's an area of the game where how you value it is really important. There's different value for contested possession, if that makes sense. We value some things a lot higher and I thought our guys battled manfully through there," he said.

"We threw the magnets around a little bit to try and get a different look for us and it worked tonight.

"I thought we probably broke even in that part of the game tonight."

Richmond progressed to its third straight preliminary final for the first time in the club's history with a strong performance against the Lions.

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Brisbane had its chances to establish a lead, particularly in the first half, but the Tigers kicked 11 goals to four after half-time to run away with the win and condemn the Lions to a knockout semi-final next week against Greater Western Sydney.

Hardwick said the Tigers benefited from the Lions' wastefulness.

"Their first quarter was outstanding, I thought we got out of jail there. They were really attacking hard. Their goalkicking let them down a fair bit tonight as well," he said.