What we learnt: Richmond's still the competition's benchmark side

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Richmond has solidified its place at the summit of the AFL ladder with a 26 point win over Sydney at Etihad Stadium.

The reigning premiers -- who lost Reece Conca in the first 15 minutes to a horrific snapped left ankle -- were forced to dig deep in their second top-of-the-table clash of 2018 but another dominant final quarter saw them notch up win No. 10 of the season.

Jack Riewoldt was sublime with 16 marks and three goals while Kane Lambert played just about the best game of his career to finish with three majors of his own from 27 disposals.

Here's three things we learnt from the game...

Tigers handle pressure as well as they give it

There's no doubt Richmond is the best pressure side in the competition -- after all it was the catalyst in snapping a 37-year premiership drought last year -- but Thursday night proved they are also the No.1 side at handling pressure.

A late flurry of goals by the Swans to close the third quarter saw them cut the Tigers' lead to 10 points at the final change and when Lance Franklin kicked truly just 45 seconds into the last quarter, the lead was down to just four points.

With the Swans coming, the pressure ratcheted up and questions beginning to be asked of the reigning premier you would expect mistakes to creep in, but the Tigers held their composure and continued to execute to perfection.

In fact, Franklin's goal would be Sydney's last score of the game, as Richmond lifted the intensity to close the match out on a 22-0 run, reminding everyone that they are still the team to beat in 2018.

Lambert was superb down the stretch with a pair of clutch goals either side of a Shane Edwards major but what summed up the Tigers and their pressure best was the 10 tackles laid by ruckman Toby Nankervis who certainly made an impact against his former club.

Tigers vs. Swans would be a worthy grand final

Few people would be surprised if Richmond and Sydney were the two sides contesting this year's grand final and Thursday night's Round 15 clash proved it would certainly be a fitting finale to the season.

All the talk leading in was around the seemingly bizarre scheduling at Etihad Stadium but when the first siren sounded it became a non-factor as both sides locked in for a memorable contest.

It was a game that had everything; momentum swings, inspirational goals, little spot-fires and even the odd high-flying mark. The pressure and intensity was also at a level that you'd expect to see in a grand final, particularly in the first half where both teams laid 50 tackles.

As expected, the midfield battle was compelling. The Swans were on top in the clearance department (39-31) but it was the Tigers who had the bulk of the inside 50 entries (62-43).

Oh and what about the epic Franklin vs. Alex Rance duel? That contest alone should be enough to have fans keen to watch these two sides go head-to-head again in September.

Richmond's late burst may have denied us a thrilling finish, but the game did prove that Sydney aren't too far behind.

Sydney won't win a premiership with Gary Rohan

Big games and Gary Rohan just don't seem to go together.

Once again Sydney's No.2 forward was nowhere to be seen when his team needed him, picking up just six touches and failing to take a shot at goal in what has to be one of the poorest individual performances by any player this season.

Rohan failed to take a mark or lay a tackle for the match and the speed which he has become renowned for was almost non-existent.

It's hard to believe a player could have so many poor moments in a game which they were virtually unsighted in, yet somehow he managed to. He was caught holding the ball twice, had an inside 50 attempt smothered by Alex Rance and shanked another potential inside 50 out of bounds on the full.

Unfortunately for the Swans it's just another game in what has been a poor season for Rohan. He has managed just seven goals from 11 games this year and has actually gone goalless seven times. His disposal high for the year is a measly 11, while on eight occasions he's finished a game with a single figure possession count.

It may seem harsh, or somewhat of an overreaction, but Sydney will not win a premiership with this type of productivity. Time to look for another option.