Last-gasp Saints end Dockers final tilt

St Kilda stars Jack Steven and Dan Hannebery have combined to inspire a stunning three-point win over Fremantle to end the Dockers' AFL finals run and strengthening Brett Ratten's claim on the top job.

After trailing by nine points late in Sunday's see-sawing affair, Josh Bruce kicked the winner with less than a minute left in a thrilling 10.12 (72) to 10.9 (69) victory in front of 17,715 fans at Marvel Stadium.

Play restarted with 39 seconds left on the clock, but Josh Battle ended Fremantle's frantic final forward thrust with an intercept mark deep inside his defensive 50 to make it three wins in four games under caretaker coach Ratten.

The visitors looked to have done enough when Brandon Matera kicked the first goal of a tense last quarter. But Ross Lyon's men return to Perth out of the finals hunt in 12th with a 9-11 record and poor percentage.

Steven and Hannebery, playing together for St Kilda for the first time, added a level of class that would have had sacked coach Alan Richardson pondering what might have been if he'd had the pair at his disposal.

Steven, in his first game back from a lengthy break to deal with mental health issues, inspired the Saints with three clutch goals, while Hannebery had 23 possessions and two goals in the third game of an injury-ravaged first season with the club.

"Just to persist and for those blokes to have an influence on the game ... that's just great for our footy club," Ratten said.

"To see Jack with a big smile after three goals and I thought Hanners was very influential in the first half with some of his run and ball use.

"He's been a very good player for a very long time and he had a patch where he was injured and sometimes you can't control that.

"But to get him back and healthy ... hopefully, we just finish the year nice and strong with him and Jack.

"That would be fantastic ... it was a real step forward for those two men."

Seb Ross (28 disposals) and Jack Billings (27) were also important as the Saints improved to a 9-11 record.

Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe put on another masterclass, almost dragging his team across the line with 35 possessions, seven clearances and two goals, with Ed Langdon (28 disposals) and Bradley Hill (27) also strong.

"Of course we're frustrated ... I would think that our finals opportunity is closed," Lyon said.

"But to come interstate and compete like we did ... I can't really question the effort.

"There was a lot we did right but, of course, I'm frustrated."

St Kilda pulled off the win with one player down on the bench for most of the contest after Nick Coffield dislocated a shoulder in the first quarter.

Rowan Marshall's left leg buckled under him in gruesome fashion in the opening term, but the young star ruckman escaped serious injury and returned to the field.