The Tigers, so often the butt of ninth-placed jokes, have surged into the finals after stunning the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium on Saturday evening.
Back in June the Tigers had a 3-10 record and the finals were a pipe dream, but their 10.8 (68) to 9.11 (65) victory over the premiership favourites means their place in September is secure.
A nine-game winning streak means the Tigers will play finals football in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1975.
"(We were an) absolute certainty back then," Richmond coach Damien Hardwick joked of its poor record through 13 games.
"It is unbelievable, but the credit has to go to our playing group.
"They've been incredibly brave, they've stuck fat the whole time and they've never wavered in their belief they could get where we wanted to go.
"It's a real credit to them and we're so happy for our supporters who get to buy that finals ticket again."
In typical Richmond fashion, it was anything but straightforward. The Tigers raced to a 33-point lead in the first term before giving up the lead in the third quarter.
In an incredibly tense final term, the visitors withstood everything the Swans could throw at them to guarantee a famous victory.
Adam Goodes had a number of chances to be a hero in the final term, dropping three marking attempts in the Swans' forward 50m before being caught holding the ball with two minutes left.
Instead, it was Dustin Martin who took advantage of Ted Richards losing his feet, scampering away into an empty forward line and slotting the goal as the Tigers held on for a nail-biting triumph.
Martin, Ivan Maric, Brett Deledio, Shane Edwards and Trent Cotchin were all immense for the visitors, with Jack Riewoldt kicking four goals and Deledio adding three.
Tom Mitchell (30 touches, 12 tackles) and Dan Hannebery (33 touches) led the way for the Swans, who lost Lance Franklin (knee) before the game, with Sam Reid their only multiple goalkicker with two.
The result means another finals berth is secure for Richmond, while despite the narrow loss, the Swans still finish top of the ladder, ahead of Hawthorn on percentage.
Richmond bolted out of the blocks, slamming through 5.3 to no score to make its intentions clear from the opening bounce.
Harder at the football and showing far more desperation than their favoured opponents, the Tigers suffocated the home side through most of the first term.
Riewoldt was finishing off all the good work, kicking three goals in the opening 16 minutes.
It forced Swans coach John Longmire to shuffle the deck to find some answers, quickly shifting Dane Rampe onto Riewoldt and moving Sam Reid into the backline, moves which had the desired effect.
Almost through sheer will rather than pretty football, the Swans started banging the ball long and giving Kurt Tippett a chance in his duel with Alex Rance.
Jarrad McVeigh and Tippett kicked two late goals as the home side took a manageable 20-point deficit into quarter-time.
Nathan Gordon then kicked the first goal of the second quarter as the Tigers stretched their advantage to 27 points, but that finally sparked the home side into action.
Lifting their work-rate, the Swans kicked the final two goals of a low-scoring term to drag themselves within 13 points at the main break.
It was always set up for a grandstand finish, the Swans getting in front to put fear into the Richmond fans, but they found just enough to give themselves some rare finals football once more.
"We didn't start the way we'd like to in the first quarter and probably 10 minutes of the second," he said.
"I thought our effort after that was pretty good, but we just didn't start the way we'd like to.
"We were chasing our tail, but we fought the game out pretty well after that and in that last quarter, we had a real go and tried to win the game, which was good."
SYDNEY SWANS 2.1 4.3 7.6 9.11 (65)
RICHMOND 5.3 6.4 8.5 10.8 (68)
Sydney Swans: Reid 2, Goodes, McVeigh, Towers, Rohan, Parker, Tippett, Hannebery
Richmond: Riewoldt 4, Deledio 3, Miles, Gordon, Martin