UNDERMANNED Fremantle has staged one of the upsets of the season over ladder-leading Geelong and kept a fading finals dream alive after surging to a pressure-relieving 34-point triumph at Optus Stadium.

Following another week of unwanted headlines, when it was queried whether coach Ross Lyon had lost his players, Freo appeared galvanised and fought tooth and nail against the stuttering Cats, who couldn't handle the heat.

Coming from 15 points down at quarter-time, the Dockers got the match on their terms with a ferocious pressure game, back to Lyon's hallmark style after five losses from six games.

Aaron Sandilands and Mark Blicavs contest the ruck. Picture: AFL Photos

Stifling Geelong's ball movement, Fremantle held the visitors to just four goals after the opening change in a morale-boosting 14.11 (95) to 9.7 (61) victory.

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The Dockers' ninth win was one better than each of their past two campaigns and lifted them back in the September hunt, now only percentage off Adelaide (which has a game in hand) in eighth spot.

With the blowtorch on Fremantle's hierarchy it was a momentous result, especially without first-choice tall forwards Rory Lobb (shoulder), Jesse Hogan (foot) and Matt Taberner (foot), and running backmen Nathan Wilson (toe) and Luke Ryan (hamstring).

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The Cats had the luxury of a short injury list, but coach Chris Scott must be scratching his head wondering what has gone wrong with his side after a fourth defeat in seven games.

Geelong's grip on a top-two spot and home qualifying final is suddenly looking decidedly shaky, with West Coast and Brisbane both chances of moving to equal position on 14 wins by the conclusion of round 20.

With spearhead Tom Hawkins (three goals) held scoreless after quarter time, the Cats couldn't find an avenue forward and a run home against North Melbourne, Brisbane and Carlton is suddenly looking tricky.

After dominating the competition in an 11-1 start, there are serious doubts over Geelong's credibility as a flag contender, with a lack of leg speed exposed by the hungrier Dockers, who booted seven unanswered goals after half-time.

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The signs were looking ominous for Fremantle early when Hawkins stood tall for an imperious mark and goal.

The Coleman Medal hopeful nailed three in the opening term as the Cats cruised to a 15-point lead, which could have been bigger if not for Ed Langdon's freakish soccered goal.

Fremantle's commitment to the contest kept them in the hunt, and with Bradley Hill (27 disposals) running riot the home side stormed back in the second stanza.

Despite lining up with an unheralded attack, who had combined for just 13 majors this season, it was the Dockers who looked more dangerous and they finally started capitalising on their opportunities.

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Unlikely duo Mitch Crowden (two goals) and Bailey Banfield (one) dragged Freo back into it, and the Dockers were given a raucous standing ovation leaving the field at half-time moments after Sean Darcy put them up by three points.

It was only the third quarter in the past 18 that Ross Lyon's team had won.

Steadying majors after the long break through Tim Kelly (25 disposals) and Gary Rohan appeared to get the Cats back on track, but when superstar Nat Fyfe (27) bobbed up with two big marks and goals a truly remarkable upset was on the cards.

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Rubbing salt into the wounds, Rohan's day was over early in the third term when he limped from the field with a left ankle problem.

Fremantle: The Dockers appeared to get through without any fresh injury worries.

Geelong: Gary Rohan limped off midway through the third quarter and went down to the rooms with an apparent left ankle issue, failing to reappear.  

The Dockers return to Marvel Stadium for a must-win clash with fellow finals hopeful St Kilda which looks a lot tougher than a month ago, while Geelong heads back to the Cattery for a huge danger game against North Melbourne.

FREMANTLE   2.4       6.7       9.8       14.11 (95)
GEELONG        5.1       6.4       8.6       9.7 (61)

Crowden 2, Fyfe 2, Langdon 2, Mundy 2, Brayshaw, Banfield, Darcy, Walters, Matera, Duman
Geelong: Hawkins 3,C.Guthrie 2, Clark, Ablett, Kelly, Rohan

Fremantle: Fyfe, B.Hill, Walters, Sandilands, Langdon, Duman, Crowden
Geelong: Stewart, Kelly, Duncan, Hawkins, C.Guthrie

Geelong: Luke Dahlhaus (rested) replaced in selected side by Sam Menegola, Mark O'Connor (injured) replaced in selected side by Lachie Henderson, Rohan (leg)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Power, Nicholls, Mollison

Official crowd: 36,310 at Optus Stadium