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AFL live: Saints meet Crows in Cairns after Dockers’ scrappy win over Suns

St Kilda is playing Adelaide in Far North Queensland after Fremantle comfortably beat the Suns in Perth.

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Dockers come good in second half to down wayward Suns

The Dockers were the best of a bad pair in the first half, but the quality improved after the long break.(

AAP: Gary Day

)

Alex Pearce has upstaged Matt Rowell in the battle of the comebacks to lead Fremantle to a 27-point AFL win over Gold Coast in front of 27,318 fans at Perth Stadium.

Star Suns midfielder Rowell, playing his first game since injuring his knee in round one, was quiet with just 14 disposals and three clearances in the 11.10 (76) to 6.13 (49) loss on Saturday.

Pearce had also been sidelined since round one because of a knee injury and made sure his comeback game was one to relish.

The 26-year-old kept Suns forward Ben King goalless from seven disposals.

Pearce, who tallied 16 disposals, seven marks, and five rebound 50s, also saved several other goals by putting his body on the line to shut down Gold Coast’s forays forward.

King’s confidence was so shot by the end of the match that he dropped a simple mark in the dying minutes and then missed from 15 metres out when an open goal beckoned.

The result improved Fremantle’s record to 6-7, while Gold Coast’s finals hopes are all but over after slipping to 4-8.

Dockers veteran David Mundy was influential with 20 disposals, six clearances and two goals, while Rory Lobb booted two goals and snared four contested marks.

Suns midfielder Touk Miller battled hard for 31 disposals, seven clearances and a goal.

Rowell endured a moment of embarrassment when he did not realise he was meant to be on the field for the opening bounce.

The 19-year-old had made his way to the bench before being advised to rush back out on the field — with the trainer even showing him the magnetic whiteboard to prove they were correct.

Bright sunshine and perfect conditions greeted players for the match, but the opening half proved to be one of the ugliest displays of football seen this season.

Both sides were guilty of committing basic handling errors and costly turnovers, with Gold Coast’s kicking on goal during the second term particularly embarrassing.

The Suns went to half-time with 1.8 to their name, with forward Burgess and Sam Flanders both booting two behinds during the second term.

The game finally found some spark in the third term as the goals rained down.

Dockers forward Josh Treacy showcased his potential with two long-range goals, while Gold Coast star Izak Rankine also booted two.

Michael Walters nailed a tough set shot after the siren to give his side a 22-point buffer at three-quarter time, and the Dockers controlled play in the final term to cruise to victory.

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