JACK Henry has kicked the matchwinner to give Geelong a classic three-point victory over Richmond in the best game of the season.
Leading by 35 points midway through the second quarter, the Cats’ advantage disappeared as Richmond came alive after half-time to grab a 17-point buffer early in the final quarter at the MCG.
But the lead would still change multiple times, with Maurice Rioli Jr calmly slotting a set-shot with two minutes remaining to put the Tigers back in front.
However, the Cats then burst out of the centre clearance with Henry, playing his first game since round five, flying high to grab a spectacular mark.
The 23-year-old went back from 15m out to nail the Cats' 10th win of the season as Geelong held on for a rousing 13.11 (89) to 13.8 (86) win to jump into second on the ladder.
Richmond bravely fought back into the game after Geelong booted seven of the first nine goals, with the Tigers losing star midfielder Dion Prestia to concussion in the first quarter.
Prestia was dazed and confused after receiving a forceful high bump from All-Australian Geelong defender Tom Stewart that is certain to see the Cat suspended.
Stewart was in deep conversation with Cats coach Chris Scott during the quarter-time break as the 29-year-old appeared to be upset with his actions.
He was booed by the Tigers faithful every time he went near the ball but still played a crucial role in the Cats' victory, including taking a big contested mark near Richmond's goals in the dying seconds.
Cats star Jeremy Cameron booted three goals in his 200th AFL game, as did resurgent small forward Tyson Stengle in a scintillating performance.
Veterans Cam Guthrie and Mitch Duncan were also prominent, while Tom Atkins was tough in the contest.
For the Tigers, Shai Bolton and Tom Lynch were outstanding with three goals each and Liam Baker was influential through the midfield.
Surprise moves from both coaches
Richmond swung a surprise when final teams were submitted, dropping ruckman Ivan Soldo to the substitute role in favour of Hugo Ralphsmith, who was brought into the 22. The curious move meant that Jack Riewoldt was rucking at times in the opening quarter before Soldo was activated later in the first term when Prestia was subbed out. The Cats also swung a very late change – 20 minutes before the opening bounce – when Gary Rohan was ruled out through illness. Zach Guthrie was brought into the starting team, which saw Chris Scott swing Jack Henry forward in a surprise move that paid dividends with two goals including the match-winner.
GEELONG 5.2 8.5 9.8 13.11 (89)
RICHMOND 2.0 5.3 10.7 13.8 (86)
Geelong: Stengle 3, Cameron 3, Henry 2, Blicavs, Miers, Smith, Tuohy, Close
Richmond: Bolton 3, Lynch 3, M.Rioli 2, Baker, Martin, Edwards, Ralphsmith, Clarke
Geelong: Stengle, Cameron, Stewart, Duncan, Guthrie, Atkins
Richmond: Baker, Bolton, Vlastuin, Lynch, Pickett, McIntosh
Richmond: Prestia (concussion)
Geelong: Gary Rohan (illness) replaced in selected side by Zach Guthrie
Richmond: Ivan Soldo replaced in selected side by Hugo Ralphsmith
Geelong: Cooper Stephens
Richmond: Ivan Soldo (replaced Prestia in the first quarter)
Crowd: 59,335 (Record Geelong v Richmond crowd at MCG)