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Freo down St Kilda, stay near AFL summit

Nat Fyfe’s important second-half contribution has helped lift Fremantle to a 41-point win over St Kilda that keeps them in touch with the AFL ladders.

The Dockers prevailed 17.9 (111) to 10.10 (70) at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night and now boast a 12-4 record, level with Geelong and Melbourne, but sit third with an inferior percentage.

Dual Brownlow medallist Fyfe started forward and had just five disposals to halftime but was moved into the centre square to help spark a turnaround at the source.

The Fremantle captain finished with 21 disposals and three goals, while Andrew Brayshaw (36 disposals), Will Brodie (29, six clearances) and Caleb Serong (25, four) were also influential.

Michael Frederick (three), Bailey Banfield, Rory Lobb, Sean Darcy, Lachie Schultz and Brodie (two each) all booted multiple goals to spread the scoring load.

St Kilda had control around the contest early and should have led by more at the main break, with huge advantages in centre clearances (10-2) and contested possession (69-52).

But the Dockers hung around and flipped the contest on its head with the first six goals of the second half.

“It was another even contribution … and that’s been a trademark of our performances this year,” Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir said.

“(Centre bounce) was the big difference in the game, they out-hunted us in there and being down that much at centre bounce you’re starting your ball movement from the back half.

“Our ball movement from our defensive 50 wasn’t very good.

“I don’t think we smashed them at centre bounce in the second half but we were able to break even, which was probably all we needed.”

Banfield was a late inclusion for key defender Alex Pearce, who pulled out with a tight calf muscle during the warm-up, forcing Griffin Logue into defence.

Logue and Brennan Cox played important roles alongside Luke Ryan.

Cox was given the job on Max King just 15 minutes before bounce down and limited the Saints’ spearhead to two goals from 11 disposals.

St Kilda could have moved into the top eight with a win but blew their chance despite the best efforts of Brad Crouch (30 disposals, seven clearances), Jack Steele (28, four), Brad Hill (28, four) and Dan Butler (two goals).

“We missed an opportunity today,” Saints coach Brett Ratten said.

“But we didn’t do our work in the first half and we definitely didn’t do it in the second half where we let ourselves down.

“That’s the frustrating part.”

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