RICHMOND has climbed to sixth on the ladder and dashed Adelaide's slim finals hopes, beating the battling Crows by 38 points at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers returned from their round 11 bye full of run and handled the slippery conditions better, withstanding a late rally from Adelaide to notch a coming-of-age win - 16.14 (110) to 10.12 (72).
Five talking points: Richmond v Adelaide
The Crows failed to respond after last week's 77-point loss to the Sydney Swans – their worst home loss in 19 years – and now appear incapable of returning to the September stage after a preliminary final appearance last year.
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Their third straight loss came despite brilliant midfielder Patrick Dangerfield, who was the best player on the ground with 28 possessions (19 contested), eight clearances and two goals.
Richmond controlled the match in the first half, building a 33-point lead early in the second quarter as star Brett Deledio roamed free across half-back.
It was a significant return to top form for Deledio, who received little attention from the Crows and had 17 possessions (14 uncontested) by half-time.
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Crows stopper Nathan van Berlo was deployed to the damaging Tiger after the main break, keeping him to 11 touches in the second half, but the damage had been done.
"He's got to that stage of his game where knows how to work his way through things," coach Damien Hardwick said of Deledio.
"He gets unfairly criticised at times but he plays team roles and it doesn't matter about the kicks, marks and handballs as long as the scoreboard is ticking over."
Brandon Ellis (22 possessions and two goals) and Reece Conca (17) made impressive returns from injury, while Dustin Martin kicked four goals, building his performance in the second half.
Coach Damien Hardwick said pre-game that 2013 had been Jack Riewoldt's finest season, despite being on track to kick significantly fewer goals than his Coleman Medal seasons of 2010 and 2012.
The coach reasoned that Riewoldt, who has kicked 34 goals this year, had become a selfless team player who set his teammates up and was contributing to a winning formula.
So it proved on Saturday, with Riewoldt kicking three goals but also setting up Martin and Chris Newman for early goals.
The Crows were led in attack by Josh Jenkins (two goals), while midfielder Scott Thompson (29 possessions) spent periods in attack.
While he dragged his team back into the contest briefly in the fourth quarter, Dangerfield wasn't always able to cap his brilliance in front of goal, kicking 2.4.
Coach Brenton Sanderson said the Crows had failed to make amends for last week's loss, with finals now almost out of reach.
"It's not impossible, we'll need to be at our best," he said post-match.
"We thought we damaged our brand pretty badly last week and didn't really make amends today.
"We just made some fundamental errors at critical times and just weren't good enough on the day, which is really disappointing because it was a must-win game for us."
Adelaide (5-7) has its mid-season bye next week before travelling to face Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
Richmond has a chance to cement its place in the top eight over the next month with clashes against the Western Bulldogs, St Kilda, North Melbourne and Gold Coast (in Cairns).
Jake King handballs to Shaun Grigg during Richmond's win over Adelaide on Saturday: Photo: AFL Media
RICHMOND 5.2 9.7 11.10 16.14 (110)
ADELAIDE 2.1 5.4 6.10 10.12 (72)
Richmond: Martin 4, Riewoldt 3, Grigg 2, Ellis 2, Cotchin, Newman, Maric, King, Edwards
Adelaide: Dangerfield 2, Callinan, Jenkins, Lynch, Porplyzia, Jenkins, Thompson, van Berlo, Mackay
Richmond: Deledio, Riewoldt, Martin, Ellis, Conca, Chaplin, Houli
Adelaide: Dangerfield, Sloane, Porplyzia, Thompson, Rutten
Richmond: Batchelor (knee soreness) replaced in selected side by Astbury, Astbury (head)
Richmond: Matt White replaced David Astbury (head knock) in the third quarter
Adelaide: Ricky Henderson replaced Shaun McKernan in the third quarter.
Umpires: Margetts, Stewart, Meredith
Official crowd: 43,615 at the MCG