Richmond has kept its top-four quest on track with an impressive 26-point win over Geelong at Metricon Stadium on Friday night.
Despite losing ruckman Ivan Soldo to a knee injury and star forward Tom Lynch to a hamstring concern, the Tigers prevailed 7.15 (57) to 4.7 (31).
The win lifts the premiers up to third place on the ladder, with the Cats slipping a spot down to fourth.
Although soured by the fitness concerns, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick will have had no worries with the way his side dismantled the Cats, whose last loss came against West Coast in round nine.
After a frenetic start to the contest, Richmond took control thereafter, holding Geelong goalless in the first term and restricting them to just one goal to three-quarter time.
It was only in the final term, with Richmond reduced to two players on the bench, that Geelong started its charge, booting three last-quarter goals to get within 15 points before a Jason Castagna major shut down their late dash.
The dominant performance could have been even more evident on the scoreboard if the Tigers had have kicked straight, with their inaccuracy the only thing preventing Geelong from suffering a blowout defeat.
Jack Riewoldt was important for the Tigers, kicking four goals in an imposing tune-up before the finals, but it was otherwise an even performance from the reigning premiers, with Dustin Martin (19 disposals), Shai Bolton (18) and Jayden Short (16) also busy in the tight affair.
Tom Stewart was among Geelong's best but it was a lacklustre showing from the star-studded Cats in a game that could have locked in a top-four berth.
Expect a different intensity, a stack of new tactics, some new faces and even more rigour if these sides meet again in the finals series. But Richmond's recent stronghold over Geelong, as shown on Friday night, will be hard to ignore if they do battle again.
The Tigers will now face bottom-of-the-table Adelaide at Adelaide Oval next Saturday, while the Cats will face Sydney at Metricon Stadium next Sunday.
GEELONG 0.3 1.4 1.5 4.7 (31)
RICHMOND 2.5 3.5 5.13 7.15 (57)
Geelong: Ratugolea 2, Close, Hawkins
Richmond: Riewoldt 4, Castagna, Lynch, Rioli
Geelong: Stewart, Guthrie, Dangerfield, Menegola, Blicavs
Richmond: Riewoldt, Martin, Baker, Bolton, Grimes, Short
Geelong: Rohan (glute) replaced in selected side by Jarvis
Richmond: Soldo (left knee), Lynch (left hamstring)