GEELONG has stormed home with six goals to one in the final quarter to defeat an unlucky Richmond by four points in a thriller at the MCG on Sunday.

The Houdini-like escape keeps the Cats’ top-four aspirations on track and sets it up for a premiership tilt.

After kicking just four goals in the first three quarters, despite dominating the inside 50s, the Cats came alight in the final quarter, playing on at all costs and turning the game on its head.

Full stats and match coverage

Geelong kicked an extraordinary 10.22 (82) to Richmond's 12.6 (78) and is now a game clear inside the top four.

Lincoln McCarthy was inspiring, clean and full of running while Patrick Dangerfield began winning vital centre clearances.

Geelong ended the game with its noses just in front despite winning the inside 50 count 66-39.

Five talking points: Richmond v Geelong

Harry Taylor, in his 200th game, put Geelong in front with five minutes remaining after receiving a free kick in front of goal.

Tom Hawkins then kicked his first goal to give Geelong some breathing space.

The Cats hung on with Richmond deep in attack after Tyrone Vickery kicked a goal for the Tigers with just 21 seconds remaining.

Scott Selwood played well for Geelong and won a vital one-on-one against Jack Riewoldt late in the game that led to a Steven Motlop goal and kept the Cats' hopes alive.

It was a magnificent fightback as the Cats kicked just two goals to Richmond's nine in the second and third quarter.

Geelong coach Chris Scott said the Tigers forced them to work hard.

"Richmond played a different style to the one that have played for most of this year and it made it hard for us," Scott said.

"We were playing, in a really high stakes game for us, some of our worst footy for the first three quarters so we needed to change some things around.

"I think we were always confident that once we got some momentum the game could shift."

During that stage of the game Geelong’s ball movement was slow and it could not take advantage of the inside 50s.

Comeback win could be turning point for Cats: Scott

The Tigers opened up the game in the second quarter, kicking five goals to one, despite having just seven inside 50s in the term to Geelong's 20.

It was a trend that continued through the third quarter with Richmond having 11 goals at three-quarter time to the Cats’ four, despite trailing the inside 50 count 31-47.

Geelong played like a bottom-four team rather than a premiership aspirant at times, fumbling, slipping over, dropping marks and appearing less desperate than the Tigers.

Richmond was able to slow Geelong's ball movement and then score on the counter-attack, frustrating the Cats, who looked predictable.

At half-time nine defenders were inside Richmond's top 11 players for disposals, with Alex Rance dominating Hawkins.

At three-quarter time Geelong coach Chris Scott threw Lachie Henderson forward to join Taylor and the Cats attacked the game.

He must have also prayed for a Kyle Chalmers-like comeback.

I knew we were in trouble: Hardwick

Richmond was brave but could not hold on with Dusty Martin, Trent Cotchin and Rance close to the best three players on the ground.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick was magnanimous in defeat despite his disappointment.

"You look at [Patrick] Dangerfield and [Joel] Selwood's influence, they just rose to the occasion and there's a reason they're a top-four side," Hardwick said.

"When you have 19 inside 50s you're battling against the dam wall. We just couldn't win any ball across half-forward. We're disappointed but at the end of the day the better side won."

Richmond: The Tigers got through the game unscathed although ruckman Shaun Hampson appeared to be labouring at times with a leg injury and received a cut to the head.

Geelong: Harry Taylor received a hip pointer injury after being crunched in a marking contest but should be fine. Scott Selwood and Josh Cowan both received cuts to the head but were fine. The Cats should welcome back Andrew Mackie, Daniel Menzel and Nakia Cockatoo.

Geelong head to the Gabba to take on the Brisbane Lions and need to win to keep its top-four aspirations alive. Richmond play St Kilda in a dead rubber but the Tigers will want to show it remains ahead of the Saints in the pecking order.

RICHMOND  2.4  7.4  11.6   12.6   (78)
GEELONG     2.2  3.7  4.13  10.22  (82)

Richmond: Lloyd 3, Rioli 2, Vickery 2, Edwards, Hampson, Lennon, Riewoldt, Grigg
Geelong: McCarthy 2, Menegola 2, Smith, J.Selwood, Caddy, Motlop, Taylor, Hawkins

Richmond: Rance, Martin, Lloyd, Houli, Grigg, Ellis, T.Hunt
Geelong: J.Selwood, S.Selwood, Dangerfield, Guthrie, Menegola, McCarthy

Richmond: Hampson (cut head)
Geelong: Cowan (cut head)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Donlon, O'Gorman, Hosking

Official crowd: 45,667 at the MCG