Fremantle have forged direct links with their deepest past as a key part of their strategy for a successful future.
The club's first captain, vice-captain and club champion - Ben Allan, Stephen O'Reilly and Peter Mann - are all Dockers board members and president Steve Harris said the move was designed to give the board a "defined structure".
"Football is at the heart of the club so it makes sense to have people with football expertise and experience on the board," Mr Harris said.
"All three individuals have a wealth of football experience, but they are also all very successful in business."
Mr Harris said Mr Allan, also a premiership star with grand final rival Hawthorn, held the unique position of having been a player, captain, coach, director and vice-president.
Mr Allan declined to comment ahead of Saturday's grand final, but Mr O'Reilly and Mr Mann both said helping establish the club as a credible AFL entity had added a special chapter to their football careers.
Mr O'Reilly said his initial motivation for joining the board came from close to his home.
"I've got a passion for the club and I remember my son watching the footy when he was about eight and rushing out to tell me the Dockers were going really well," he recalled.
"So I ran in and they'd be 30 points behind or something.
"Even our supporters had such a low expectation of the club and I thought that if I ever got the opportunity to help, I would.
"Now you walk around with your head held high and I'm very proud of the club from where it's come from.
"It's been a long journey, but it blew my mind when I came back to see how professional the club was and how well it was managed across all levels.
"They've taken massive leaps and it's now a wonderful place of excellence.
"People now talk about the Dockers in a positive manner, which we probably didn't deserve in the past, and they'll definitely be in it with a chance against Hawthorn."
Mr Mann said he had been anxious to return to AFL clubland after an absence and was enticed by the challenges facing Fremantle, which included the move to the new Burswood stadium.
"The whole business of the AFL has changed and expanded significantly in the past 20 years and Fremantle as a club has also progressed," Mr Mann, who succeeded Mr Allan as captain, said.
"Whatever course of life you're in, if you are part of something from its foundation, to watch it build and grow is a wonderful experience.
"It's good to have links to past players, but you have to be able to bring some other components to the board to be able to contribute.
"Ben and Steve absolutely do that and the football department of Fremantle today is one of the better ones going around.
"I'm definitely the latest one in and riding on the coat-tails of a lot of hard work.
"But that doesn't mean I'll enjoy the grand final any less and we'll be a chance on the day."