Brandon Starcevich, with blood running out of his nose, clenches his fist in celebration

Lions, Dockers force blockade at top of AFL ladder with crucial wins

Brisbane have sprung from a brave St Kilda to take a 21 point win in an injury marred game and enter their bye into the AFL top two.

The Lions had to bounce back after losing to Fremantle and their clash with the Saints teetered on the brink before Brisbane scored three of the last four goals to win 10.17 (78) to 8.9 (57) in the Gabba.

The win came at a cost, however, as skipper Dayne Zorko replaced Darcy Fort with a third-term hamstring injury, while Darcy Gardiner was treated on his back and did not finish the game.

St Kilda did brilliantly to battle the game out, with just two players on the bench in the final quarter.

They lost Mitchito Owens and Daniel McKenzie to concussions on either side of half time, with substitute Jarrod Lienert replacing Owens at the main break, while Zak Jones suffered a hamstring injury in the third quarter.

Lions stars Lachie Neale (37 sales, seven clearances, 460 yards won) and Hugh McCluggage (33 sales, seven clearances) were typically prolific.

Joe Daniher scored three goals on his return and the stylish Keidean Coleman impressed, while Harris Andrews fought back after Max King kicked two early goals to silence the Saints’ fledgling weapon.

Jack Sinclair (30 disposals, 642 yards won), Brad Crouch (26 disposals, 10 tackles) and Jade Gresham (two goals, 21 disposals), were busy for St Kilda.

King scored the first two goals of the game, both from free kicks, while Daniher fired two early set shots.

Then Brisbane received an unlikely gift late in the first term.

Daniher fired through an open play goal and in the aftermath, amid a scuffle, Brad Crouch hurled Charlie Cameron to the ground by the neck.

Cameron got a free kick right in front of the goal, giving the Lions a quarter-time lead.

St Kilda wiped out disappointment and led 12 at the main break.

But they lost Owens when the youngster ran to a game and collided head-on with Lincoln McCarthy, the contact sending the young Saint flying, and he was substituted at half time.

Early in the third quarter Daniel McKenzie took a brilliant aerial shot but landed on his head and went to the bench for assessment.

The AFL scoring system proved controversial, with McCluggage and Cam Rayner having goals written off in the third and fourth terms, respectively.

But neither had any influence on the outcome, as Brisbane started from their three-point lead at the last substitution to overtake the exhausted Saints.

Fyfe solid on return as Freo holds off Hawks

Nat Fyfe was the drawcard, but it was Andrew Brayshaw who eventually became the hero when Fremantle overcame a brave Hawthorn to take a 13-point AFL win at Perth Stadium.

Brayshaw scored 37 disposals, seven tackles, and he kicked the match-sealing goal with five minutes left to help the Dockers secure Saturday’s 14.11 (95) to 12.10 (82) win.

Nat Fyfe made a successful comeback when Fremantle defeated Hawthorn.Getty Images: Daniel Carson

Fyfe started mid-ground in his first AFL game for over 10 months, but he also spent significant stints forward.

The two-time Brownlow medalist finished with 21 disposals, five clearances and 1.2 in a promising display.

Brennan Cox, Hayden Young and Luke Ryan combined for 32 points in defence, while the Dockers improved their record to 10-3 to level with Melbourne.

Jaeger O’Meara finished with a team-high 30 disposals and nine clearances for the Hawks, while James Sicily (nine points) was a rock.

Dockers defender Blake Acres sat on the bench in tears after he appeared to tear his right hamstring in the last 15 minutes.

Hawthorn’s Sam Frost, who played as a forward, was also out recently with a knee injury.

Nat Fyfe appears to deliver a handball as teammates and opponents surround him
Nat Fyfe mainly played forward in his return game.Getty Images: Daniel Carson

The Dockers scored the first two goals of the game, but Hawthorn worked their way into the game, taking advantage of their attacking opportunities.

The Hawks scored four long-range set shots that, along with Chad Wingard’s late major, took a three-point lead in the quarter from zero.

Fyfe had the chance to produce a memorable highlight late in the second quarter when he collected the ball into the pocket, but his dribbling kick was never on court and went on for a back.

Hawthorn’s 10-point lead at halftime was created by their 32-21 lead in the 1950s, with their forward half-pressure proving crucial.

Griffin Logue’s efforts to make a game forward resulted in two goals for Dockers goalkeeper Michael Walters early in the third quarter.

Fyfe resurfaced later in the run, driving the 39,428 crowd wild as he took a strong contested lead.

Although his shot went just wide, a minute later he scored his first goal of the game with a volley from the goal line.

Fremantle returned home with a handy 14-point lead, but the margin was only six when Luke Breust scored his second goal of the game with six minutes to go.

Brayshaw stood up when his team needed him most, passing a ball from five yards while keeping his opponent at bay.

The game was to test Fremantle’s ability to overcome their wet weather demons, but the rain held off and the game was played in relatively dry conditions.

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Player Stats


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