Dockers squeeze past Saints in dour struggle

Fremantle have overcome terrible inaccuracy in front of goal to improve their AFL finals hopes with a dour 17-point win over St Kilda.

In a contest that never reached any great heights, the Dockers broke clear with the first three goals of the final quarter to clinch a 9.18 (72) to 8.7 (55) victory at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.

The result lifted Justin Longmuir's side to the verge of the top-eight with a 6-4 record, ahead of a huge home clash with Collingwood next Friday night.

But it came at a cost when Michael Frederick was substituted out with concussion following a heavy mid-air collision with Saints defender Jimmy Webster.

Webster served a seven-match ban this year for a brutal late hit on North Melbourne's Jy Simpkin but was contesting the ball when he crashed into Frederick during the first quarter.

"(Frederick) was good at halftime and he's good after the game," Longmuir said.

"It was clearly a big collision ... so we'll monitor him and see how he goes.

"I haven't really trawled back through the vision, but it felt like it was a footy act when I saw it."

Jordan Clark (29 disposals), Hayden Young (27), Caleb Serong (30), Andrew Brayshaw (26) and ruckman Luke Jackson (25) all had influence as Fremantle took control of the contest after halftime.

But their goal-kicking was cause for concern, with key forwards Jye Amiss (2.5) and Patrick Voss (1.3) among the culprits who squandered chances that could have helped end the arm-wrestle much earlier.

Jaeger O'Meara kicked two important majors in the final quarter, while captain Alex Pearce held Saints spearhead Max King goalless from nine disposals and Luke Ryan (27 touches) also stood up in defence.

Longmuir was content with a "pretty dominant" second half by the Dockers.

"The obvious thing is we didn't finish our work," he said.

"It's frustrating at times for the players when that happens but I thought they stuck to their guns and stuck to their task.

"They didn't let frustration get to them, they just played the next phase and created another opportunity.

"I was pleased with the way we adjusted at halftime and got the game on our terms for the whole second half."

Mitch Owens.
Mitch Owens takes a spectacular high grab in the Saints' loss to Fremantle.

Jackson (25 touches, 10 clearances, 40 hit-outs) and opposing ruckman Rowan Marshall (31, eight, 38) both racked up huge numbers in an entertaining battle.

St Kilda lacked the "sizzle" coach Ross Lyon has been looking for, posting their second-lowest score of the season after managing just 53 points against Hawthorn last week.

Mitch Owens kicked three goals, all in the first half, and Anthony Caminiti added two.

Nasaiah Wanganeen-Milera (30 touches), Jack Sinclair (29) and Riley Bonner (26) won plenty of the ball but few Saints players looked capable of breaking the game open.

"It was only their inaccuracy that kept us anywhere near it, to be honest, so we're really disappointed," Lyon said.

"We walk away bitterly disappointed with our second half.

"We thought we were positive and played the right way in the first half. We were really pleased.

"But it just lays bare some of our weaknesses in our midfield and our inability to control a game.

"There's no secret but it's going to take some time to turn that around in there."

The loss gave St Kilda's fifth in their last six games, giving them a 3-7 record ahead of a meeting with flag hopefuls Melbourne at the MCG in round 11.