RICHMOND is into a fourth successive preliminary final, making St Kilda pay dearly for a return of its goalkicking yips at Metricon Stadium on Friday night.
The Tigers won 12.8 (80) to 6.13 (49) and will now face Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval next Friday night for the right to play in the Grand Final.
TIGERS v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats
What looked like being a comfortable night for Richmond after a five-goal opening quarter blitz was anything but, as St Kilda fought until the death.
But the inaccuracy around goal that plagued the Saints the previous three seasons came back to bite them.
After succumbing to a hungry Brisbane outfit seven days earlier, Richmond got back to doing what it does best – pressuring, playing quickly and converting accurately around goal.
The best team of the past four seasons found some form and still has a chance to defend its premiership.
With Tom Lynch back from a hamstring injury to straighten up their ball movement they looked like a totally different team.
Although he kicked poorly (2.5), Lynch's 17-disposal, six-mark game was a welcome sight for Tigers fans.
He might come under scrutiny from the Match Review Officer again though after a third-quarter incident where he dropped a knee into Saints defender Dougal Howard.
Dustin Martin (25 disposals, six clearances and a goal), Shai Bolton (three goals from 11 touches) and Shane Edwards (21 and two goals) were all instrumental in the win.
Not usually reliant on their clearance prowess, the Tigers smashed St Kilda's midfield, winning nine centre clearances to three in the first half and giving their forwards plenty of opportunities.
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Bolton was magnificent, turning two half chances into opening quarter goals, including one twisting and turning effort where he bought just enough time from a pressuring Jack Sinclair to snap from 50m and watch the ball take a kind bounce through.
It summed up the difference between the two teams.
After converting at less than 50 percent in front of goal from 2017-2019, St Kilda has been one of the most accurate teams in the competition this season, but it deserted them in their hour of need.
With Jake Carlisle with his partner awaiting the birth of his third child, the back six looked out of sorts at times, with too many players flying for marks and leaving the Richmond smalls to run unattended.
Jack Steele (25 disposals and a goal) completed a magnificent season, while Hunter Clark really gave his team a lift when moved into the midfield after half-time.
RICHMOND 5.1 9.1 10.4 12.8 (80)
ST KILDA 2.2 3.6 5.11 6.13 (49)
Richmond: Bolton 3, Lynch 2, Edwards 2, Castagna, Martin, McIntosh, Prestia, Rioli
St Kilda: Battle, Butler, Kent, Ross, Savage, Steele
Richmond: Houli, Martin, Edwards, Bolton, Lynch, Baker
St Kilda: Steele, Clark, Ross, Coffield, Marshall
St Kilda: Membrey (ankle)