East Fremantle's premiership credentials took another hit in the form of a heart-breaking four-point defeat to arch rivals South Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval.
The Sharks led by as much as 26 points and looked to be pulling away when Jack Perham and Brad Dick booted the opening two goals of the final term.
But South fought back and kicked six of the last seven goals to snatch an unlikely victory and avoid a clean sweep of derby defeats for the season.
Former East Fremantle best and fairest winner Kris Miller, now with South, said the 16.13 (109) to 15.15 (105) win was one of the best he'd been involved in outside the cutthroat finals arena.
Veteran Miller described the game as "like a grand final" for a youthful South side, who are out of finals contention this season.
It was a scrappy affair with few highlights before three-quarter time as both sides produced error-riddled displays in near-perfect conditions.
The Sharks kicked the first three goals and led by 21 points after 10 minutes before South kicked into gear.
The visitors cut the margin to 11 points by half-time and Paul Mugambwa's kick off the ground in the pocket late in the third term brought the Bulldogs within seven points.
Callum Leslie responded within a minute to steady East with his third major in his first league game of the season.
Perham and Dick looked to have set East on the road to victory early in the last before South produced a spirited fightback to score one of the upsets of the season.
Jarrad Winter was outstanding across half-forward for the Bulldogs with five goals, while rising star Ben Saunders continued to hit the scoreboard with four majors.
Perham, Leslie and Brock O'Brien finished with three each for the Sharks.
The loss leaves East in third position, two points clear of East Perth (fourth) and 10 clear of West Perth (fifth).
They sit one win behind Swan Districts, who occupy second position and are in prime position to qualify the double-chance in September.
|GOALS - SOUTH FREM : Winter 5; Saunders 4; Bewick 2; Guglielmana, Ross, Sgherza, Woods. EAST FREM: Perham, B O'Brien, Leslie 3; R O'Brien, Dick 2; Dalziell, Stevens.|
BEST - SOUTH FREM: Winter, Cook, Woods, Bewick, Saunders, Burnett. EAST FREM: McGough, Stephen, Schofield, Young, R O'Brien, B O'Brien.
REPORTS: Schloithe (SF) for striking McGough (EF)in the first quarter. Martinez (SF) for forceful front-on conduct against Waight (EF).
UMPIRES: G Parker, S Parry, M Worobec.
CROWD: 2500 (approx) at East Fremantle Oval.
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