North Melbourne have consigned Richmond to a third straight AFL elimination final loss, with the resurgent Roos running over the top of the Tigers to score a 17-point win.
Richmond led at halftime but the Kangaroos lifted their game in the second half to advance to a semi-final against Sydney with a 15.15 (105) to 14.4 (88) win in front of 90,186 fans at the MCG.
Brad Scott copped plenty of criticism for his decision to rest nine players last week but the North coach had the last laugh on Sunday as his side finished full of running.
Jack Riewoldt gave Richmond a two-point lead with his fourth goal early in the final term but the Roos held their nerve to finish strongly.
Evergreen veteran Brent Harvey led the way for North with 31 possessions and two goals, with Jack Ziebell and Andrew Swallow also influential, while Jarrad Waite kicked four goals.
A bone-jarring collision early on between Dylan Grimes and Shaun Higgins showed the intent of both sides and, while Richmond had the better of the early exchanges, they didn’t hit the scoreboard as much as Damien Hardwick would have liked.
Trent Cotchin and Brett Deledio gave an indication of the Tigers’ early pressure when they gang-tackled Todd Goldstein to set up a Deledio goal but the star pair weren’t able to have a great influence for much of the day.
North tagger Ben Jacobs ensured Cotchin had just five possessions to halftime, leaving the likes of Anthony Miles and Taylor Hunt to pick up the slack.
A three-point Richmond lead at quarter-time quickly blew out to a game-high 21 as Riewoldt became busy but the Roos did well to steady and hit back, with Waite their most dangerous forward.
But as composed as the Tigers looked for much of the first half, they only led by 13 points at halftime and that poise deserted them in the face of a North onslaught after the restart.
Swallow was huge for the Roos who ratcheted up their forward pressure and kept the ball locked in their front half, with the Tigers venturing inside their attacking 50 just six times in the third term.
Drew Petrie had struggled to shake Alex Rance for the most part but he booted successive goals to bring his career tally to 400 and help his side to a 10-point lead.
But a Lindsay Thomas brain explosion, when he appeared to shove a boot into the chest of Grimes, set up a Ty Vickery goal that sliced North’s lead to just four points and create an epic finale.
Riewoldt’s goal gave the Tiger Army hope but that soon evaporated with Vickery missing a gilt-edged opportunity running into goal before the Roos kicked the last two majors of the day to score a thrilling win.