NAT Fyfe was the drawcard but it was Andrew Brayshaw who ended up being the hero as Fremantle overcame a brave Hawthorn to post a 13-point win at Optus Stadium.
Brayshaw tallied 37 disposals, seven tackles, and he kicked the match-sealing goal with five minutes remaining to help the Dockers secure the 14.11 (95) to 12.10 (82) victory on Saturday.
DOCKERS v HAWKS Full match coverage and stats
Fyfe started in the middle of the ground in his first AFL match for more than 10 months, but he also spent significant stints up forward.
The two-time Brownlow medallist finished with 21 disposals, five clearances, and 1.2 in a promising display.
Brennan Cox, Hayden Young and Luke Ryan combined for 32 marks in defence as the Dockers improved their record to 10-3 to move to equal top of the table with Melbourne.
Jaeger O'Meara finished with a team-high 30 disposals and nine clearances for the Hawks, while James Sicily (nine marks) was a rock in defence.
Dockers defender Blake Acres was in tears on the bench after appearing to tear his right hamstring in the final quarter.
Hawthorn's Sam Frost, who was playing as a forward, was also subbed off in the last term with a knee injury.
The Dockers booted the opening two goals of the match, but Hawthorn worked its way into the contest and made the most of its chances in attack.
The Hawks nailed four long-range set shots to go with Chad Wingard's late major from point-blank range to take a three-point lead into quarter-time.
Fyfe had the chance to produce a memorable highlight late in the second quarter when he collected the ball in the pocket, but his dribble kick was never on track and went through for a behind.
Hawthorn's 10-point half-time lead was set up by its 32-21 advantage in inside 50s, with their forward-half pressure proving crucial.
Griffin Logue's efforts in making a contest up forward set up two goals to Dockers goalsneak Michael Walters early in the third quarter.
Fyfe bobbed up later in the term, sending the 39,428 crowd wild when he took a strong contested mark on the lead.
Although his shot sailed just wide, he got his first goal of the match a minute later with a volley from the goal line.
Fremantle turned for home with a handy 14-point edge, but the margin was just six when Luke Breust booted his second goal of the match with six minutes remaining.
Brayshaw stood tall when his team needed him most, soccering a ball through from five metres out while holding off his opponent.
The match was expected to test whether Fremantle could overcome its wet weather demons, but the rain stayed away and the contest was played in relatively dry conditions.
Fyfe back, but more to come
Playing at AFL level for the first time since round 19 last year, Fyfe made a fine return. The superstar had 21 disposals – 16 of those handballs – and kicked a goal as he split time between midfield and the forward line. Importantly, Fyfe had 10 score involvements – only Caleb Serong and Walters had more – in a sign of things to come for the Dockers star.
Acres' spark key before cruel injury
After just eight disposals in the first half, Acres came to life in Freo's six-goal third term. The 26-year-old had 13 disposals, including five contested possessions and three clearances, to go with a goal in a quarter that proved key to the Dockers' win.
Hawks again show they aren't far off
The loss was Hawthorn's seventh in its past eight games, the lone win coming in a shock victory over Brisbane. But Sam Mitchell's side again threatened a major upset, just as it did against Collingwood last week. Aside from a heavy defeat to Gold Coast and Sydney charging home in Tasmania, the Hawks' other five defeats in the run have each been by less than 30 points, showing they remain on the right track.
FREMANTLE 4.3 6.6 12.9 14.11 (95)
HAWTHORN 5.0 8.4 10.7 12.10 (82)
Fremantle: Schultz 2, Walters 2, Banfield 2, Colyer 2, Lobb, Walker, Acres, Aish, Fyfe, Brayshaw
Hawthorn: Moore 2, Wingard 2, Breust 2, Koschitzke, Howe, O'Meara, Shiels, Morrison, Reeves
Fremantle: Brayshaw, Young, Acres, Serong, Ryan, Walters, Cox
Hawthorn: O'Meara, Mitchell, Sicily, Moore, Nash, Howe
Fremantle: Blake Acres (hamstring)
Hawthorn: Sam Frost (knee)
Fremantle: Darcy Tucker (replaced Acres in the fourth quarter)
Hawthorn: Josh Morris (replaced Frost in the fourth quarter)