Jason Castagna is hopeful he’s done enough to hold his place in Richmond’s AFL grand final team.
The second-year forward hit a lean patch of form just at the wrong stage of the Tigers’ premiership campaign.
He failed to kick a goal in the last four games of the home-and-away season and averaged six possessions a match over that period.
He was quiet again in the qualifying final win over Geelong, even though he kicked a goal, then had 18 touches and booted a major in the stunning preliminary final win over Greater Western Sydney.
Castagna’s defensive pressure-based role isn’t all about possessions and goals, but he admits his tapering form had started to play on his mind.
“I was pretty worried about my spot at times, but Dimma (Damien Hardwick) has been really good in keeping the faith in me,” Castagna told AAP.
“When you’re in a bit of a form slump as I have been recently you can get pretty down.
“We’ve all had times during the year when we’ve had a bit of a form slump but we just base our game around that pressure and if we keep bringing that it’s something we can work back from.”
Hardwick has made just one change to his line-up this finals series, bringing in a fit-again Josh Caddy for the qualifying final at the expense of Oleg Markov.
The coach hasn’t ruled out tinkering with his team this week, but also said he is more likely to stick with the winning preliminary final combination.
Castagna is confident his improved showing against the Cats is a sign of things to come.
“Some weeks I might not touch the ball as much or kick as many goals … from the outside people can say that you aren’t playing your role or you aren’t going that well,” he said.
“But inside we really focus on the pressure that helps our teammates.
“We’re not always going to get those touches, but we share it around and it evens out over the season.”