THERE was nothing pretty about it, but Fremantle returned to the winners list and dealt a hefty blow to Port Adelaide's top-two ambitions with an upset nine-point victory at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

Rubbing salt into the wounds for the Power were injuries to arguably their two biggest stars, Paddy Ryder and Robbie Gray.

Ryder played no part after hurting a hip flexor during the second quarter, while Gray went down early in the third term after he was knocked out cold when his head hit the ground in a Ryan Nyhuis tackle.

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The incident sparked an ugly melee and will certainly be looked at by Match Review Officer Michael Christian on Monday.

Power coach Ken Hinkley confirmed post-match that Ryder was likely to miss multiple weeks, while Gray was OK in the changerooms but would seemingly be in doubt for a crucial showdown with the in-form Giants next round.

Port came into Sunday's mistake-riddled contest riding a five-game winning streak but wasted a dominant opening term and left the door open for Freo, which snuck through for a morale-boosting 8.11 (59) to 7.8 (50) triumph. 

It was a golden opportunity missed for the visitors, who could've finished the round only percentage off League-leader Richmond but have now dropped to fifth spot on the ladder.

Meanwhile, the rebuilding Dockers will feel good about themselves again after notching a seventh victory in 2018 and putting two disappointing performances since the bye against Brisbane and Melbourne behind them.  

"I thought (it was) really pleasing. We were disappointed against a quality team in difficult conditions last week," Freo coach Ross Lyon said.

"I thought we competed really strongly, we wanted to be harder to play against and 58 entries to 39 against a top-four team speaks volumes for how intense we were and how we competed fiercely.

"Our accuracy will get better. Port Adelaide never gave up. I thought it was pleasing, a real step forward."

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In a game marred by basic skill errors, Freo found avenues to goal after half-time, booting seven of the first nine majors to hold a 22-point lead at the 15-minute mark of the final term.

The Power tried to mount a late surge but Brad Ebert and Lindsay Thomas fluffed their lines in tough shots and failed to score, summing up a forgettable trip west.

While conditions were slippery, there were few excuses for a shocking first half, which was like witnessing the aftermath of a car crash – you wanted to stop watching but couldn't look away.

From a combined 46 inside 50s, only three goals were kicked and none during a diabolical second term.

The Dockers lifted after a dismal opening quarter and had 20 attacking entries but sprayed shots everywhere, booting seven unanswered behinds.

Their calamity in front of goal was summed up by Tommy Sheridan's horrendous miss from 10m out on a slight angle after he should have been awarded a 50m penalty.

Incredibly, the Dockers' seven points to no score in the second term was the first quarter they have won since half-time of the Carlton victory before their bye, ending a run of 11 consecutive losses.

Brennan Cox's second goal at the 12-minute mark of the third term drew ironic cheers from the 33,190-strong crowd after he snapped a run of nine behinds in a row.

The only real highlight of the first half came early when Chad Wingard drew first blood with a sublime Goal of the Year contender, a checkside from hard up on the boundary.

The Power could have had the game by the scruff of the neck at the first break, but couldn't capitalise on dominance in clearances (20-4) and contested possessions (55-29) and only led by nine points.

It came back to haunt them, with the Dockers finding a way to notch a sixth win from nine games at their new home ground.

"We were probably playing a style of game (in the first quarter) that gives you a chance to win," flat Power coach Ken Hinkley said.

"We were certainly much happier playing that style than we were playing the last three quarters.

"In the first quarter we were alright but still the finish was poor.

"But at least the contest was in our favour."

In superstar Nat Fyfe's absence, Lachie Neale stood up in the midfield with 34 touches and nine clearances, while veteran David Mundy (29, one goal) and Ed Langdon (28) were influential, and Luke Ryan (28, seven rebound 50s) continued his excellent season across half-back.

Wingard was Port's only multiple goalkicker with two majors, to go with 24 touches and seven clearances, while midfield bulls Ollie Wines (30 disposals and five clearances) and Sam Powell-Pepper (28) could hold their heads high.

Fremantle: Cam McCarthy came from the ground clutching his hip during the second term but played out the match. Sean Darcy limped off the field during the final term with a groin injury and will be assessed this week.

Port Adelaide: Star ruckman Ryder was done for the day after coming off in the second term with a hip flexor issue and is likely to miss multiple weeks. Gray was out cold after his head hit the ground in a Ryan Nyhuis tackle early in the second half. Riley Bonner limped off the ground late in the third term but Ken Hinkley was confident he would be OK.

The Dockers travel to Etihad Stadium to face Essendon in a must-win game for the Bombers' finals ambitions on Saturday, while Port Adelaide is facing a crucial contest against the resurgent Giants in an Adelaide Oval blockbuster next Sunday.

FREMANTLE                         1.0      1.7      5.10    8.11 (59)                  
PORT ADELAIDE                2.3      2.3      4.6      7.8 (50)           

Fremantle: Cox 2, Sutcliffe, Hughes, Jones, Mundy, McCarthy, Walters
Port Adelaide: Wingard 2, Westhoff, S.Gray, Powell-Pepper, Watts, Boak

Fremantle: Mundy, Neale, Ryan, Langdon, Cox, Darcy
Port Adelaide: Wines, Polec, Powell-Pepper, Wingard, Westhoff

Fremantle: Nil
Port Adelaide: Ryder (hip flexor), Gray (concussion)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Schmitt, Whetton, Mitchell

Official crowd: 33,190 at Optus Stadium