FREMANTLE has stunned St Kilda with a miraculous one-point come-from-behind victory at Moorabbin, made worse for the home side by two potentially serious leg injuries.
SAINTS' NIGHTMARE RESULT Full match coverage and stats
The Saints led for most of the day, but defender Molly McDonald gave away a 50-metre penalty to hand Kate Flood an easy goal to level the scores with two minutes to go.
McDonald initially looked to be St Kilda's hero, with a goal to give the Saints some breathing space early in the last term.
Gemma Houghton kicked three points for the day, but her most crucial miss came in the dying stages to give the Dockers a 3.6 (24) to 3.5 (23) win.
The day was marred by injuries to key Saints Kate McCarthy and Tarni White.
White went down in the first quarter with a suspected ACL injury, while McCarthy got her leg caught underneath her in a tackle from Angelique Stannett in the third quarter.
After a goalless first term for both sides, Dockers midfielder Jasmin Stewart ended the drought with a sharp finish from a stoppage early in the second quarter.
The third and fourth quarters started in an eerily similar fashion, as Caitlin Greiser put the Saints in front with a goal less than 30 seconds into the second half.
Kiara Bowers did the same thing for the Dockers with a goal immediately to kick off the fourth quarter.
Two minutes of madness
The final two minutes were tense enough already, but the drama was heightened with a scoreboard error. A behind was missed somewhere along the line, and the big screen on the ground displayed the Saints and Dockers level at 23 points each before a late correction showed Fremantle as being one point ahead.
Undefeated… for now
The Dockers now sit as the only side with four wins and zero losses, but the draw has been reasonably kind for Fremantle. Sunday's game was the first interstate trip for the club, but the next four challengers are the Lions, Bulldogs, Demons and Blues. None of those games will be easy.
St Kilda debutant Poppy Kelly didn't look out of place in her first AFLW call up. With 12 disposals and 16 hit-outs, the first-gamer looked strong in the ruck and read the play well when she switched with Rhiannon Watt deep in defence.
12 tackles almost seems like an off-day for the tenacious Kiara Bowers. The Dockers midfielder was outstanding with 13 disposals and a goal to go with her typically strong defensive efforts. With 58 tackles in four games, her average tackles per game have actually dropped from 15.3 to 14.5 after Sunday's match.
"I feel really sorry for her (McDonald). Probably would have been nice if we had kicked a couple of more goals for her so we didn't win by that one point." – Fremantle coach Trent Cooper said post-match.
"The last 30 seconds when Gemma unfortunately missed that goal, we thought it was a draw." – Fremantle midfielder Hailey Miller on the scoreboard mix-up.
"Molly is hurting. She's pretty upset, but how's Molly after the goal she kicked? I said mate you kept us in the game." – St Kilda coach Peta Searle on what she said to McDonald following the heartbreaking loss.
"She loves the weights room. She's got bigger biceps than me for sure." – St Kilda's Alison Drennan on what Tarni White will do following her knee injury.
The Saints face the in-form Blues at Ikon Park next Saturday night at 7.10pm AEDT as they hunt for their second win. Fremantle will head back home to host Brisbane on Sunday at 2.10pm AWST as it hopes to remain undefeated.
ST KILDA 0.1 1.1 2.4 3.5 (23)
FREMANTLE 0.2 1.3 1.3 3.6 (24)
St Kilda: Greiser, Vesely, McDonald
Fremantle: Stewart, Bowers, Flood
St Kilda: Vesely, Drennan, Watt, Dillon, Greiser, Lucas-Rodd,
Fremantle: Miller, Bowers, Grieve, K.Antonio, Seth, E.Antonio
St Kilda: Tarni White (knee), Kate McCarthy (leg)
St Kilda: Nil
Crowd: Approx. 4000 at RSEA Safety Park