A lot was expected of Fremantle’s defenders heading into Saturday’s clash with St Kilda in what was a six-point comeback win at Metricon Stadium.

While it took a team effort from the undersized backline, medium defender Ethan Hughes earned some deserved praise from defensive coach Michael Prior and teammate Matthew Taberner post game.

“Even if Ethan is underrated by some I know within the coaching group and myself, I’m a huge fan of Hughesey,” Prior said.

“Our back seven love playing with him as they know what they’re going to get from him every week.

“If there’s a 50-50 ball to be won, Hughesy’s going to win it every time. He’s that committed to the cause and the players recognise that.”

At 25 with 56 games under his belt, Hughes is one of Freo’s more experienced defenders with more games to his name than leader Alex Pearce and Luke Ryan.

“His on ground leadership and direction in that regard is really important. He deserves any praise he gets, absolutely,” Prior said.

Not only were Freo up to 37-points down against St Kilda, they also completed their comeback with two players on the sidelines in Hayden Young (ankle) and Sean Darcy (concussion).

Forward Matt Taberner said Hughes played through a minor injury with few rotations and got the job done.

“There was a few (that played hurt), Ethan had a sore hip in the first quarter but soldiered on,” Taberner said.

“When you’re two men down, you have to ask that from your players.”

08:32 Mins
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Post-Match | Justin Longmuir v St Kilda Rd 6

Watch Fremantle's media conference after round six's match against St Kilda.

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