After winning the first two games of the Ratten era, the Saints entered their clash with Fremantle on the back of losing the third. Having been beaten by the Crows in a close one in Adelaide, they had reason to be confident against a Dockers team that still harboured dreams of September. In their last home game of the season, they welcomed back Jack Steven for his first game since Round Six and were as close to full strength as they had been all season.
Despite Fremantle playing to keep their season alive, it was the Saints who looked the September challenger early. A goal to Tim Membrey followed by a brace to another former Swan in Dan Hannebery inside the first dozen minutes, saw the home team take a handy lead. A soft free to Michael Walters followed by a rampaging Nat Fyfe from a tight angle saw Fremantle draw close as quarter-time neared. A second for Membrey on the siren though, saw the Saints take a deserved 12-point lead into the break.
Jack Steven would answer a Sean Darcy goal to restore the Saints quarter-time lead six minutes into the second quarter. It would prove short respite though, with goals to Sam Switkowski, Fyfe, and Mitch Growden giving the visitors their first lead as the second quarter entered time on. Luke Dunstan would answer late, and with behinds to Jack Lonie and Seb Ross either side of his major, the home team entered the long break in front by one point.
The teams would trade goals early to open the third quarter, with Josh Battle and Steven answering majors to Ed Langdon and Brandon Matera respectively. Lachie Schultz would kick the Dockers ahead again after 18-minutes and if not for poor kicking, they kicked four straight behinds to end the quarter, may well have begun a match-winning spurt. Instead they had to settle for a seven-point lead at the final change.
The Saints opened the last quarter by returning the favour. Despite completely dominating the ball, after 16-minutes of play, they could manage just four behinds. To compound their wastefulness Matera, with his second for the match, gave the visitors the first goal of the term and a stranglehold on the match. Ben Long would miss a chance on the run before Brad Hill gave the Saints one last chance by spraying a shot wide for the Dockers.
Where there is life there is hope and from the resulting kick in, the ball was moved from one end to the other and the waiting arms of Jack Steven. He would make no mistake from his set shot and was almost able to complete his fairytale story less than a minute later but his running shot dribbled out of bounds without score. After a quiet afternoon, Josh Bruce would ultimately prove the hero. The tireless forward marked within range with time running out and kicked truly with less than a minute on the clock. The Dockers would desperately move the ball forward but would be thwarted by a brave mark from Josh Battle that ensured Jack Steven’s return was a winning one.