Are Tigers the sleeping giant of the AFL?
West Coast, Geelong and, not all that long ago, Collingwood were the teams to beat in September but is Richmond the sleepy giant?
The Tigers roared back into contention for top-billing with a clinical dismantling of GWS Giants at the MCG.
The method? Known. Explosive ball movement coupled with frenetic but considered pressure made the Giants look largely second-rate for prolonged periods.
After consecutive wins over inferior opposition (St Kilda and Gold Coast) the Tigers needed a scalp and got one in emphatic fashion, running out 27-point winners.
Dion Prestia and Shai Bolton sparked the onslaught, the latter putting in his best ever performance in yellow and black.
Sydney Stack and Mabior Chol looked irresistible in patches, while usual suspects Trent Cotchin, Bachar Houli, Dustin Martin and Brandon Ellis got plenty of the football.
PATHETIC ... IN PATCHES
Remember when the baby Giants were likened to orange witches hats during the formative years?
Well, white flags sprung to mind as the listless Giants' premiership prospects punctured at the MCG.
In coaching vernacular, the Giants lacked system and structure. In layman terms, the Giants were pathetic in patches.
Save for Lachie Whitfield, playing his first game in six weeks after a broken collarbone, Jeremy Cameron, Tim Taranto and Nick Haynes, it could so easily have been so much worse.
Giants debutant Ian 'Bobby' Hill, the cousin of Fremantle's brothers Stephen and Brad Hill, slotted three goals in an encouraging display.
The rest? Spectators, if not passengers despite the Giants, who sported their predominantly white clash guernsey, to their credit surged in the middle quarters, with Cameron booting three goals including two in under a minute close to halftime, but the damage was done as the Tigers cut the visitors to ribbons despite the slick conditions.
If Tom Lynch is crashing packs and clunking marks in wintry July the former Gold Coast Suns captain will be a force to be reckoned with when sunshine descends on the hallowed turf and silverware is there to be won.
Lynch finished with three goals but the spearhead's workrate and efforts at ground level was just as important as scoreboard impact.
Lynch has booted 37 goals in 16 games at Tigerland and the best looks set to come.
GIANT BLOW FOR GWS, CONIGLIO
Roll of the dice or utter stupidity? Either way, the Giants could rue the decision to play Stephen Coniglio after the ball magnet, who hyper-extended his knee last week against Brisbane, lasted only five minutes before leaving the field what appeared to a serious injury.
Coniglio left the MCG just four minutes into the Giants' clash.
He went into the game with his left knee heavily strapped and immediately pulled up sore as he tried to turn while running to a contest less than five minutes into the match.
The 25-year-old had to be assisted from the field by trainers, putting no weight on the leg as he was helped to the bench.
He immediately went down to the rooms for treatment and was ruled out soon after for the rest of the match.
Fox Footy commentator Dwayne Russell said on the broadcast that Coniglio had looked worried about the knee pre-game.
"He was doing some proprioception or dance steps pre-game in the middle as though he had a lot of concern anyway and this is horrific news," Russell said.
Coniglio hurt his knee during the Giants' clash with Brisbane last week and had scans on Monday which cleared him of any major damage.
The midfield jet has averaged 28.5 disposals this season, including racking up 34 and 33 touches in his past two games.
The onballer has been linked to a number of Melbourne clubs, including St Kilda and Hawthorn, should he decide to leave GWS at season's end.
RICHMOND 4.4 6.7 10.13 13.16 (94) def GWS 0.2 4.5 6.7 9.13 (67)
Goals: Richmond: K Lambert 3 T Lynch 3 J Castagna 2 J Riewoldt M Chol S Bolton S Edwards S Stack
GWS: I Hill 3 J Cameron 3 T Greene 2 B Daniels
Gilbert Gardiner's Best: Richmond: Bolton, Prestia, Houli, Lynch, Cotchin
GWS: Whitfield, Cameron, Haynes, Taranto, Greene
Umpires: Brett Rosebury, Nicholas Foot, Hayden Gavine
Official Crowd: 38,986 at MCG.
GILBERT GARDINER'S VOTES:
3 - Lachie Whitfield
2 - Shai Bolton
1 - Dion Prestia