Geelong played Sydney off the park and out of AFL top-two calculations with a commanding 44-point win at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.
The Cats now only need to beat struggling Brisbane at home next weekend to guarantee a top-two finish and a home qualifying final, while the Swans will finish third or fourth and have to travel in week one of the finals.
The Cats were in control throughout, and would have won by more if not for some profligate finishing in front of goal in the 13.14 (92) to 7.6 (48) victory.
But they were still able to hold the reigning premiers to their lowest score of the year in a match played perfect conditions.
The Cats had a host of good players, among them Steve Johnson (26 possessions and four goals), Mathew Stokes, Mitch Duncan and skipper Joel Selwood.
Stephen Motlop also capped an impressive outing by jumping over the top of Duncan late in the final quarter to pull in a contender for mark of the year.
Sydney were best served by co-captain Jarrad McVeigh, while ruck-forward Mike Pyke took several strong contested marks and kicked three of his team’s meagre tally of seven goals.
Big Cat Nathan Vardy was subbed off early in the first quarter after being accidentally kneed in the head by opposing ruckman Shane Mumford.
It allowed triple premiership star Paul Chapman to enter the fray much earlier than expected in his first senior outing since round four.
Chapman made the most of it, gathering nine possessions and a goal before again donning the green vest late in the term when Vardy was cleared of concussion and passed fit to come back on.
Fan favourite Chapman finished the match with an encouraging 14 touches.
Sydney also turned to their substitute Jed Lamb in the opening quarter when Rhyce Shaw went down with a suspected knee injury.
The Cats led by 14 points at quarter-time and continued to dominate general play throughout the second term.
But they struggled to convert that dominance on the scoreboard until Selwood and Johnson kicked goals late in the quarter to extend the margin to 25 points at halftime.
The teams kicked 2.3 apiece in a third-quarter stalemate, before the home side blew the margin out to 44 by the final siren.
Geelong have now won 42 of their past 43 matches at this venue dating back to round three, 2008 - with the only blemish being a 13-point loss to Sydney late in 2011.
Saturday’s encounter was the 1000th VFL/AFL match played in Geelong - and the 101st involving either Sydney or their former incarnation of South Melbourne.
Geelong finish their home and away campaign back at Simonds Stadium next Saturday against the Lions, while the Swans host Hawthorn at ANZ Stadium on Friday night. - AAP