We have to figure out a way to beat Richmond: Isaac Smith
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We have to figure out a way to beat Richmond: Isaac Smith

Triple premiership Hawk Isaac Smith said the pressure applied in the first half of Thursday night's qualifying final against Richmond was as fierce as he has encountered in a final.

With neither team taking a backward step in the first half as 94 tackles were laid, Smith expects the experience to hold the Hawks' bunch of first-time finalists in good stead.

"That is as hot a final as I have played in so they are going to learn a fair bit from that," Smith said.

Although the game was Smith's 19th final, Hawthorn had six players getting a taste of finals football for the first time and most will back up again next Friday night against the winner of the Geelong-Melbourne elimination final.

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Smith said he was pleased with the effort in the first half but the Tigers eventually prevailed.

"I thought we really matched them in the contest early, especially with our pressure," Smith said.

"Once they get on top and start to pop out the back and get those goals, which are pretty deflating,  it's a bit disappointing."

Hawthorn's Isaac Smith shadows Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin.

Hawthorn's Isaac Smith shadows Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin.Credit:AAP

Smith said the Hawks had given themselves a chance of toppling the flag favourites but they could not get their game going, with the wet conditions not helping.

"We knew it was going to be a tough challenge playing the best. We thought we could get them but they played too good a footy tonight," Smith said.

"We have got to figure out a way to beat them."

Peter Ryan joined The Age in 2017 having covered AFL as a senior reporter with AFL Media.