Fremantle may have seen it as a chance to boost their percentage, very few saw it as a chance for St Kilda to raise theirs.
The Dockers travelled to Etihad Stadium without Aaron Sandilands or Hayden Ballantyne but full of hope they would be heading back West with a win and top place on the ladder.
Instead, they sit fourth and if Port Adelaide defeat the struggling Demons, will end the split round in fifth.
The Dockers were soundly beaten right across the ground by a rampant St Kilda, who were inspired by the retiring Lenny Hayes, and led by captain Nick Riewoldt’s four goals and 30 disposals to run out 58-point winners.
Following the defeat, and Carlton’s upset of North Melbourne on Friday night, Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said this was a wake-up call for his team.
“There are no easy days in the AFL and two clubs have been reminded of that, North Melbourne… and us today,” he said.
Lyon refused to blame key absences for the loss.
“We didn’t just leave (Sandilands) out,” he said, “he had a number of indicators that told us he was at risk.”
“We’re a no excuses footy club, we’re not looking for excuses, we were beaten by a better footy side with greater effort.”
“It just shows potential outcomes mean nothing… you’ve just got to get to work and get it done.”
Key midfielder Michael Barlow said his side’s pride had been hurt.
“It wasn’t one line that let us down tonight, it was from our forwards right down to our backs,” Barlow said.
“We know the mechanics of it all, where we let ourselves down
“They were more intense and more fierce at the contest. We had a real lapse.”
Heading into a week off, Lyon said he would resist the urge to delete the ugly footage.
“I don’t flush anything down the toilet. I’ll have a good look at it, we’ll have a really meaningful review,” he said.
With the congested AFL ladder, the Dockers could be fifth by round’s end, should Port Adelaide defeat Melbourne as expected.