Castagna eyes straighter AFL finals series

Jason Castagna has played in every Richmond game this season and is aiming for a third premiership.
Jason Castagna has played in every Richmond game this season and is aiming for a third premiership.

Jason Castagna really only thinks about his "nearly-was" AFL grand final day out because people keep bringing it up.

One year ago this week, the Richmond small forward kicked 0.5 in a wayward display, but still finished with a second premiership medal around his neck.

"It's been brought up to me more than I've thought about it myself," Castagna said ahead of Friday night's qualifying final against Brisbane.

"People say that I could've kicked five goals but I was probably never going to kick five straight.

"It was a good day and if we'd lost it would've been a different story.

"Hopefully I can kick a bit straighter this time around."

Castagna sits equal-fourth on Richmond's goal-kicking leaderboard this season with 14 majors, behind Jack Riewoldt (28), Tom Lynch (28) and Dustin Martin (15).

But goals aren't his measuring stick.

Instead, it is his pressure acts and team-first mentality that have earned him a spot each week.

The 24-year-old is one of only three Tigers, along with Riewoldt and Jayden Short, who have played every game this season.

"You do feel pressure for spots ... but it's healthy pressure," Castagna said.

"I feel like I've played my role and done enough to hold my spot, and hopefully I can keep contributing in the finals.

"I try to put pressure on in the forward half and give a contest when the ball's in my area and I think that's held me in pretty good stead."

Richmond enter the finals series as flag favourites on a six-match winning streak and Castagna is one of 15 Tigers aiming to be part of a third premiership with the club.

"We're in a really good spot to attack finals," Castagna said.

"It's been a bit of a different year but coming up to finals now it doesn't actually feel too much different.

"We're going to attack it the same as we have in previous years and hopefully we can go pretty deep."

Australian Associated Press