Beating the team they want to be was perhaps Richmond's greatest prize from their 29-point AFL win over Sydney at the MCG on Saturday.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick was thrilled his team was challenged, then able to overcome a Swans side he unashamedly admits he wants his players to emulate.

For Richmond, the raw materials, raw energy and raw talent are visible.

So too are the raw scars of not being good enough to beat the best sides at times this season.

But the Tigers' ability to close out the 13.13 (91) to 8.14 (62) win over the high-flying Swans after being questioned heavily in the third quarter suggests the gap may now have closed.

Hardwick says his Tigers aspire to be in the Sydney mould of being always hard to beat and never out of a match.

"What I take the most enjoyment out of is beating a quality football club like Sydney," Hardwick said.

"You don't often say how much you admire a club but I love how they play, I love what they represent, to get one over on them is certainly a good result.

"They're a very strong culture, they never give up.

"Even today when they were six or seven goals down they scrap and fight, and that's something our boys have taken on board and hopefully begin to represent."

It ended the Tigers' run of narrow losses to top eight teams, and moved them to a 3-4 win-loss record.

It was Richmond's second successive win after beating struggling Port Adelaide the previous week.

Richmond built their victory on a dominant first half spent denying Sydney the football, winning every key statistic and a glut of possession.

On-ballers Nathan Foley and Trent Cotchin controlled the clearances, and ruckman Ivan Maric the hitouts as the Tigers kept the Swans goalless in the first term and booted five themselves.

Richmond led by 40 midway through the second term, before midfielder Josh Kennedy kicked a late goal to help the Swans trail by 32 at halftime.

But the Swans clawed back into the match in the third, with Kennedy and fellow midfielder Jude Bolton superb - Bolton having 12 touches for the quarter.

Kennedy goaled on the three-quarter-time siren to reduce the deficit to 14 points, give the Swans momentum, and long-suffering Tigers' fans heart palpitations.

Shaun Grigg and Jack Riewoldt steadied things for the Tigers, goaling twice each in the final term, while Richmond defender Dylan Grimes was outstanding in repelling Sydney's forward raids.

Riewoldt booted four for the match and Grigg three.

The defeat was the second in a row for the Swans, who haven't won in nine consecutive outings at the MCG, and they slipped to a 5-2 record for the season.

"The most disappointing part of the game was the first quarter, and the uncontested possession difference made it really tough to catch up from then," Swans coach John Longmire said.