Adam McPhee says he made the decision to retire purely for family reasons despite believing that he could play at least one to two more seasons in the defensive role Fremantle coach Ross Lyon created for him in 2012.
McPhee, 30, who stunned the club by retiring just a month after signing a fresh one-year deal to extend his 223-game AFL career, tipped the Dockers to threaten the top four in 2013 declaring the club's critical senior players Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands and Luke McPharlin to be in good enough shape to wield significant influence on games.
McPhee and his family, wife Bree and children Taj and Cove, have already made the shift back to Melbourne. Their home in Cottesloe is on the market.
McPhee plans to work in his father-in-law George Hateley's security business, Breon Enterprises.
He does not rule out a coaching role in football but his immediate intention is to step away from the game.
"My decision was made purely for family reasons," he said. "There were some moments when I was in the west where as a family we struggled but overall I loved my time in Perth and playing with Fremantle and I loved the State.
"That made my decision so much harder for a lot of reasons. One was my form last year. 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 and then once I had made my decision to retire it was all really based around when I actually initially signed I was still struggling. Then it became reality."
McPhee came to terms with the club on a one-year extension for his contract before the end of the season but then took time to sign the deal as he continued to mull over his future.
"There was a real lag period, I guess, where the question was why I hadn't signed for so long," he said. "It was because I was weighing up all of these different options and what was the best outcome.
"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, thinking '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."
McPhee said he ultimately made the decision to retire on November 6 but could not hold talks with all of the people he needed to speak with at Fremantle because coach Ross Lyon and football manager Chris Bond were away in the United States.
"Then it was about getting to the club and talking to them and meeting up with Steve Rosich, Chris Bond, Ross Lyon, all the people that needed to know asap," he said.
"Unfortunately I couldn't talk to all of those guys because a couple of them were in the States so I had to wait around a little bit longer but I was able to make a call and had a three-way call with Ross and Chris Bond when I was in Melbourne and they were still in the States and I had the conversation about retiring."
He said that he felt more than capable of playing on.
"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," he said.
And he admitted an interest in coaching, although he is yet to decide at what level.
"I never close doors on anything. I am certainly open to any options. I have got a real interest in coaching," he said. "At the start my intention is to walk out of football. I have a position that has been offered to me by my father-in-law in his business. My intention is to put my time and energy into developing a role for his company."
He paid tribute to Lyon who he said had been a significant influence in his form turnaround after form and injury issues 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.
"That has been down back in years gone by, being able to play that third tall.
"I felt like it was a great role that suited my attributes. The strongest influence he had on me was really understanding my strengths and where I could fit in."
He said Lyon added a new dimension to his game by matching him on small forwards, believing he had the agility to go with them and the strength to out-muscle them.
"If I was able to keep up with them it was a good match-up for Fremantle," he said.
"They were respectful of my decision. At one point Ross did say that they were going to offer something else to continue playing but when I had the conversation with Ross about retiring he picked up in my voice that I was thinking about it and he said if any player is thinking about it then it is the right time to do it.
"I have a high respect not only for the way that he coaches but also for Ross Lyon the man himself."