Inaugural Docker Peter Miller remembers well getting that phone call in 1994.
It came just after the hard-working rover's WAFL season with East Perth had finished.
The call was from the Dockers. They wanted to chat about making him one of their first recruits.
Miller said this week that at the time he was aged 25, and although he had previously had a few nibbles of interest from other AFL clubs, nothing had come of it.
"I thought my opportunity had passed," he said. Within a few days he was aboard and helping the fledgling Dockers set sail.
Miller and Peter Bell were the first two players signed.
Miller said he remembered well his routine in late 1994. The alarm would go at 5.15am to wake him for morning training.
Then it was breakfast put on by the club, but unlike all today's full-time AFL players, Miller had no time to rest and recover.
He had a full-time job as a chemical engineer to go to. After a day at work, it was off to evening training, home for a feed and tumble into bed. And the next day, he'd do it all again.
"We did 11 sessions a week, six mornings and five evenings," Miller said.
"I remember arriving at work about eight o'clock feeling a million dollars and seeing others still half asleep. By mid-afternoon I was the one half asleep."
Finally, under pressure, his body gave way. An injury meant he missed the club's first AFL fixture, against Richmond, postponing his debut until a game against Essendon.
Miller played 16 games that first season but by the end, the combined workload of the weekday job and the weekend job had started to tell.
He had been paid "the grand sum" of $31,000 for his footy and was worried about whether he could combine his engineering job with the commitment needed to play AFL.
"I had finished the year exhausted," he said. "I came to the conclusion it was not sustainable. I had made a decision in my head not to play on, and the club had made a decision I was not required. I was more or less relieved." And so he walked away from the game for almost a year before East Perth enticed him back to the WAFL.
He ended up playing 176 games at East Perth and retired again after the 1998 season.
He was still enthusiastic about his one season as a Docker. "It was very special to be involved in the first year," he said.
And he remained a fan of first Dockers coach Gerard Neesham.
"He had a great insight into how to get the best out of people," Miller said. And in many ways Neesham was ahead of his time.
"There were things like drawing the man, keeping possession of the ball, use of pace and running and carrying the ball," Miller said.
"Back then, kicking the ball sideways was not common, and now they kick it 30m backwards and a lot of those things are now fundamental to the game."