Richmond's season is rolling after Dustin Martin dazzled a heaving Optus Stadium and led the Tigers to a memorable Dreamtime in Perth win against Essendon.
In an engrossing match that had looked destined to go down to the wire, the Tigers piled on seven straight goals in the final quarter to secure their seventh consecutive Dreamtime win, 19.9 (123) to 12.12 (84).
The 39-point margin did not do the contest justice, after Essendon fought back from a 30-point margin in the third quarter to snatch the lead 10 minutes into the final term.
They looked set to surge past the back-to-back premiers before the Tigers seized the moment, with Martin bombing his third goal from 50m on the run, and Shai Bolton kicking a clutch snap.
From there, Richmond rolled home to record its 11th straight win against Essendon, and back-to-back wins in 2021 for the first time since rounds one and two.
Midfielder Darcy Parish was superb for the Bombers and recorded a club record 44 disposals, steering the comeback through the early stages of the final term to win the Yiookan Award as best afield.
He was challenged for the honour by Martin, who set up the Tigers' early advantage and then arrived at their time of need to kick the goal that broke the Bombers' backs.
The Bombers missed crucial chances in front of goal when the game was on the line, however, and missed the opportunity to replace the Tigers in the top eight.
A massive crowd of 55,656 packed Optus Stadium on Saturday night for a Dreamtime to remember, and a large percentage were behind the underdog Bombers.
But their cause was hampered early when star midfielder Andrew McGrath limped from the ground, spending the rest of the night on the bench with his left knee in a brace.
The Bombers relied on the brilliant Parish, who had 11 clearances and nine inside 50s, to get their midfield drive, with Zac Merrett (32 and seven inside 50s) his sidekick.
Richmond suffered an injury blow of its own, with midfielder Dion Prestia substituted in the final quarter with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Martin, who had 27 disposals and three goals, was supported by Jack Graham (22 and two goals) through the midfield, while Bolton (21) was crucial late, kicking two of his three goals when the match was at its hottest in the final term.
Gladiator of the Match
Who was the toughest player on the ground? Cast your vote and enter the draw to win a 2021 team-signed guernsey and VIP match day experience in 2022, thanks to Jeep!VOTE
ESSENDON 1.2 5.4 8.10 12.12 (84)
RICHMOND 4.3 8.7 12.8 19.9 (123)
Essendon: Ham 3, Hooker 3, Waterman 2, Cox, Langford, Phillips, Stringer
Richmond: Bolton 3, Castagna 3, Martin 3, Coleman-Jones 2, Graham 2, Riewoldt 2, Balta, Caddy, McIntosh, Rioli
Essendon: Parish, Merrett, Langford, Hooker, Cox, Ham, Hind
Richmond: Martin, Bolton, Grimes, Graham, Castagna, Prestia, Chol
Essendon: McGrath (knee), Zaharakis (hamstring)
Richmond: Prestia (hamstring)
Essendon: Patrick Ambrose (replaced Andrew McGrath)
Richmond: Daniel Rioli (replaced Dion Prestia)
Crowd: 55,656 at Optus Stadium