Fremantle's charge to their maiden grand final can be traced back to a day in 2008 when the club finally decided enough was enough.
The Dockers were a laughing stock that year, winning just six games despite boasting the competition's oldest list and paying their full salary cap.
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.
For years Fremantle employed insane list management tactics, with the club regularly trading away valuable draft picks to lure over-priced and over-the-hill stars.
Tony Modra, Chris Tarrant, Trent Croad and Des Headland all came and went with limited impact, as did many others.
Something had to give.
So in late 2008, with the club's win-loss record standing at 2-13, newly-appointed chief executive Steve Rosich held a meeting with list manager Chris Bond and then-coach Mark Harvey to thrash out a plan.
They all agreed to overhaul the list, and 12 players with a combined experience of 1575 games departed at the end of the year.
Peter Bell, Jeff Farmer, Shaun McManus, Mark Johnson, Heath Black, Luke Webster and Matthew Carr retired.
Robert Warnock was traded to Carlton. Josh Carr jumped ship to Port Adelaide. Rookies Ryley Dunn, Chris Smith and Calib Mourish were axed.
The cleanout gave Fremantle a fresh start. But it was the next move which would define the club's future.
Normally, Fremantle would have opted for experience, jumping at the chance to secure discards from rival clubs.
Not this time: they went to the draft. They were armed to the hilt with picks and cashed them in for a bunch of kids.
Those kids brought with them potential but no guarantees.
Ben Bucovaz, Tim Ruffles and Christopher Hall were low draft picks who never reached any great heights.
But Fremantle's first five picks ended up being worth their weight in gold, with Stephen Hill, Hayden Ballantyne, Nick Suban, Zac Clarke and Michael Walters all becoming key players.
All five will play in Saturday's grand final against Hawthorn, as will former rookie Matt de Boer, who was also picked up by the club that year.
Clancee Pearce was chosen alongside de Boer in the rookie draft, but the rebounding defender will miss the grand final due to an Achilles tendon injury.
Fremantle's recruiting success in 2008 hasn't been a one-hit wonder either, with the club following it up with a host of key acquisitions.
Nat Fyfe was a steal with pick No.20 in 2009 while the Dockers struck unexpected gold in the 2011 draft in the form of Lachie Neale (No.58) and Cameron Sutcliffe (71).
Other shrewd investments included picking up Michael Barlow and Lee Spurr as rookies, snaring defender Zac Dawson through the pre-season draft, acquiring Danyle Pearce as a free agent, and trading pick No.39 to Gold Coast for Tendai Mzungu.
The likes of Hayden Crozier, Josh Mellington, Tom Sheridan and Josh Simpson could also become key players in future years.
The turning point for Fremantle came in 2008.
But the ultimate reward will come on Saturday if the Dockers are able to snare their first premiership.
"It's clear 2008 was significant," says Bond, a former captain of the club who is now their football operations manager.
"There certainly was a big change to our list with 14 players coming in.
"We certainly had a very strong strategic plan in regards to our list management and we followed that.
"But it's not an exact science.
"This is only the first time in the history of this club that we've played finals two years in a row. We understand how much work we've still got to do.
"I think the personnel that we've got in, their work rate, their competitiveness, the way they've gone about it and the way they've been led by key staff has certainly given us a chance to be successful."
The decision to overhaul the list in 2008 was an obvious one: the club was going nowhere.
But the decision to axe Harvey as coach at the end of 2011 wasn't as straightforward, and came with big risks.
Fremantle fans were shocked by the ruthless nature of Harvey's sacking, and his replacement Ross Lyon received a frosty reception when he took over.
Dockers fans viewed him as a backstabber.
Now they reckon he's a genius.
Praise has flown thick and fast for Lyon this season but he's quick to acknowledge the Dockers' revival started years before his arrival.
"There were some significant decisions before me," Lyon says.
"In 2008 they were full salary cap, had the oldest list and were finishing on the bottom.
"They went to the draft table and had some free swings at free agency.
"So it has been a bit of a build.
"From my end there's no magic, it's just about action - unrelenting action.
"We have a strong purpose that drives us.
"League football is about character.
"I don't know what drives every individual. But if you don't have drive and if you haven't got your own purpose that makes you tick, it's too hard and too demanding.
"Clearly we have a number of players that work really hard."
Fremantle's decision to punt on the draft in 2008 brought vital pieces of the puzzle to the club. And Lyon has expertly pieced them together.
There's only one thing missing from the picture - a premiership.
It's the final piece of the puzzle that Fremantle hope to collect this Saturday.
THE INS AND OUTS AT FREMANTLE FOLLOWING THEIR FAILED 2008 SEASON
- Peter Bell: 286 games
- Jeff Farmer: 249 games
- Shaun McManus: 228 games
- Mark Johnson: 208 games
- Heath Black: 192 games
- Josh Carr: 188 games
- Matthew Carr: 162 games
- Luke Webster: 33 games
- Robert Warnock: 21 games
- Ryley Dunn: 8 games
- Chris Smith: 0 games- Calib Mourish: 0 games
- Stephen Hill - pick No.3 in national draft: 107 games and counting
- Hayden Ballantyne - pick No.21 in national draft: 85 games and counting
- Nick Suban - pick No.24 in national draft: 83 games and counting
- Zac Clarke - pick No.37 in national draft: 52 games and counting
- Michael Walters - pick No.53 in national draft: 41 games and counting
- Ben Bucovaz - pick No.56 in national draft: 2 games before delisted in 2011
- Tim Ruffles - pick No.68 in national draft: 5 games before delisted in 2011
- Christopher Hall - pick No.77 in national draft: 0 games before delisted in 2010
- Greg Broughton - rookie list: 68 games but now at Gold Coast
- Clancee Pearce - rookie list: 69 games and counting
- Matt de Boer - rookie list: 100 games and counting
- Hamish Shepheard - rookie list: 0 games before delisted in 2011
- Casey Sibosado - rookie list: 1 game before delisted in 2011- Jay van Berlo - rookie list: 32 games before delisted in 2012