Richmond prevailed in an entertaining AFL clash with Geelong, but the Cats will take plenty away from their 18-point loss at the MCG.
Chris Scott's side trailed by a point at three-quarter time but the reigning premiers finished strongly to record a 12.11 (83) to 9.11 (65) win on Sunday.
The Tigers climbed back to the top of the ladder with the win and Geelong learnt plenty about themselves against the competition benchmark.
"It's not the sort of game where we're coming away thinking that there were really important parts of our game that didn't stand up," Scott said.
"It was more just some of the fundamentals, some crucial contests, especially early in that last quarter - a couple of basic skill errors.
"We shouldn't spend too much time bemoaning (those errors), but in a tight game against really high-quality opposition, that can make the difference."
In the other game with top-four implications, Sydney toppled West Coast by 15 points in a blockbuster at the SCG, stating their premiership credentials with a show of suffocating pressure.
John Longmire swiftly moved to dismiss talk the Swans had overtaken the Eagles, who were ladder leaders heading into round 13, in the race to the flag with the 10.12 (72) to 7.15 (57) win.
Port Adelaide shored up their push to the finals with a 57-point win over the injury-ravaged Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval.
Captain Easton Wood and Brownlow Medal contender Jack Macrae suffered hamstring injuries, Lukas Webb broke his thumb, Tom Boyd dislocated a finger, Marcus Bontempelli hyper-extended a knee and Toby McLean hurt a shoulder.
Wood and Macrae sat out the second half while the other four managed to play on in the Bulldogs' 20.12 (132) to 11.9 (75) defeat.
Adelaide's season continued to spiral out of control, Hawthorn celebrating Shaun Burgoyne's 350th AFL game with an emphatic 56-point win.
In their first visit to the MCG since losing last year's grand final, the listless Crows slumped to a 6-7 record with their fourth loss in a row.
The Hawks led Saturday night's dour contest by four points at halftime, but swept aside Don Pyke's meek men with a seven-goals-to-nil third quarter in a 12.16 (88) to 4.8 (32) thumping in front of 26,693 fans.
St Kilda's Jade Gresham snapped a final-minute winner in a two-point come-from-behind win that eases the pressure slightly on embattled coach Alan Richardson.
The Saints trailed by 39 points late in the third quarter before storming home to claim a nailbiting 11.14 (80) to 11.12 (78) victory at Metricon Stadium.
Jade Gresham's snap inside the final minute of the match sealed the win for the Saints as they kicked five goals to none in the final term.
Carlton's desperately disappointing season reached a new low when they arrived at halftime against Fremantle at Etihad Stadium without a goal on the board.
The last-placed Blues did manage to stem the bleeding in the second half but still copped 15.13 (103) to 6.10 (46) trouncing from a team that doesn't travel well.
Australian Associated Press