Friend Simon Reeve remembers one of the Dockers' greatest fans, the late journalist Matt Price.
In the whirl of anticipation and excitement around the port city, there is someone all of us who have wept and cheered with this team over the years should acknowledge. Through thick and thin, mostly thin, his was a distinctive voice of gentle humour, pure passion and everlasting Dockers love.
Fremantle's biggest fan would barely recognise the implausible Ross Lyon model of today. It's all belief, steel, efficiency and substance. Forwards that really tackle and chase? Huh?
Matt Price would be grinning from ear to ear.
Matt wrote the original book, literally, of Freo pleasure and pain. Way To Go was his ode to the club he worshipped. The big bloke was the kind of writer many of us who knew him wished we could be. It seemed to come so easily for him. He was cheeky, astute and funny. Laugh out loud funny.
For me he was also the archetypal West Aussie. Open, generous and warm as an evening in January.
When I was living with my family in Botswana, I sent him an email after reading a beautiful piece he wrote about the sheer joy of seeing the Olympic torch relay as a mere punter with his family.
He'd been quite prepared to be the cynical journo I think but then found himself with tears in his eyes cheering like a kid as the parade trotted by. His take on life was as unpretentious and expansive as the footy played by his hero - the great man with the blond mop, Clive Waterhouse.
As the Fremantle Dockers have flirted with finals more frequently in the past 10 years, we've dared to contemplate the previously unthinkable concept of reaching the last day in September. If there was any doubt about the capacity of this wonderful group of players to achieve that, it was buried beneath the turf of Simonds Stadium last Saturday. Pacing the floor in Sydney, I could hardly believe what I was seeing.
Geelong, the greatest team of recent times at their fortress, unable to deal with the relentless pressure. After the siren, we wondered what Matt would have made of it. The big fella had planned a sequel to Way To Go, for when his team won a premiership. But there are still two chapters to complete before anyone can even consider fulfilling Matt's wish. They are no doubt the hardest chapters of all in this sport we love.
Luck, injuries, nerves, skill, expectations and sheer bloody mindedness will all have a part to play. From a place with a great maritime tradition, a master coach and skipper will be plotting the course ahead.
Matt embraced and embodied the mad old ride of being a Dockers fan. He died way too young at 46, the day after the election that swept Kevin Rudd to power in 2007. His incredible wife Sue and three gorgeous kids survive him.
If you're in the stands at Patersons Stadium for the preliminary final, raise a frosty one to that voice that fell silent. Somewhere, somehow I'm sure he will be watching his team, wearing a Freo Dockers beanie and a disbelieving grin.
There is a lot of heave ho-ing still to do but, thanks to Matt Price, whatever happens, we know we follow a football team quite unlike any other in the country. Just don't mention the P word . . . yet.
Simon Reeve is the sports presenter on Channel 7's Weekend Sunrise. This article first appeared on the Fremantle Dockers website.