Retired Docker Adam McPhee says the injury-free status of David Mundy, Michael Barlow and Nat Fyfe and the well-preserved bodies of veterans Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands and Luke McPharlin are the keys to the club's top-four push in 2013.
McPhee, 30, yesterday said he had come to the conclusion that he shouldn't play on in 2013 just two weeks after the club announced a one-year extension to his contract.
He predicted the Dockers would back up their strong 2012.
"I think they have got a great blend of youth and experience and the experienced guys - their bodies are still up to scratch to enable them to have a real impact," McPhee said.
"I see them as an absolute chance to finish in the top four.
"Where the growth is going to come from is the midfield.
"The positive thing from the club's perspective is the guys they need on the park to give them a genuine chance are fit and healthy.
"Dave Mundy will come back into the pre-season this year with no injuries and be able to get a full pre-season under his belt and we know what sort of player he is and the impact he had towards the last part of 2012.
"Michael Barlow and Nat Fyfe - these particular players are going to be a real threat.
"It is not just their running power but they are also six-foot two, six-foot three-type players.
"If you have a midfield that can run and has height and can hurt you when they go forward, they become very dangerous."
McPhee stressed his decision was made for family reasons.
He has not ruled out coaching but his first intention is to work in father-in-law George Hateley's security business. His Cottesloe home is on the market and he, wife Bree and children Taj and Cove have already shifted to Melbourne.
He confirmed he agonised for weeks over whether to play on and extend his 223-game career or retire.
Finally signing his contract drove the point home to him that he should put his family first by retiring, he said. But he rates his physical condition the best it has been in six years.
"I felt like I really found a place and a role that I could have continued doing for one or two more years at least," McPhee said.
"I would say that my body has been in the best shape it has been in for six years.
"It is the reason I feel that my football turned around last year.
"I was able to get out on the training park and do all of the training necessary to execute the role under pressure when needed out on the field.
"I was so strong about my ability to continue playing footy that I signed.
"But once you sign it becomes reality and then I went back and spoke to the family and it just didn't sit well with me.
"I was struggling with the decision that 'hang on we are now signed and we are going to be over in the west for another 12 months'.
"What does that look like for my family and the rest of the family?
"Ultimately I came down to the decision to retire because I felt like it was in the best interests of everyone - my whole family."He paid tribute to coach Ross Lyon for helping him turn his football around after form and injury concerns in 2010 and 2011."Ross was significant for a lot of people but for me he really allowed me to have some consistency and stability with my football by playing me in the same role and where I play my best football," he said.Ross allowed me to have some consistency."
Do the Eagles get away with ducking when tackled?Vote
Do you have a story for us to investigate?
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.