The West

Docker s milestone rings a bell
Docker's milestone rings a bell

Most people have vivid memories of their first game in the AFL, but Paul Duffield’s debut sticks in the memory more than most.

Duffield played his first game for the Dockers against St Kilda in round five 2006, the game which gave birth to the infamous ‘sirengate’ saga.

The game was initially ruled a draw after field umpire Matthew Nicholls didn’t hear the final siren and allowed then-Saint Steven Baker to kick the final behind of the game and level the scores at 94 points.

Fremantle lodged an official protest and were eventually awarded the four points for what was eventually ruled a one-point win.

Speaking on the eve of his 150th game this Saturday, coincidentally against the Saints, Duffield said it was a unique way to enter the AFL.

“I actually haven't thought about that - I read about it the other day,” he said.

“It's a bit of a blur, it goes very, very fast the entire time.

“I think it was the one time in my career that we didn't know what the result was going to be.

“We were on the plane coming home and we weren't sure what had happened and what the result was going to be and it got sorted out during the week.

“To have the milestone against the same team is just the way footy rolls sometimes.”

Duffield spent the first few seasons of his career on the rookie list but blossomed in late 2008 to become a regular part of the best 22.

He said earning a regular gig in the senior side after years in the WAFL was something he was particularly proud of.

“I wasn’t overly talented and I'm still not, I'm a bit of a plodder, but I had to work hard to keep improving,” he said.

“I guess if you keep knocking on the door long enough you don’t just knock on it, you knock it down.

“At some stage I had to make the choice to knock it down and try to go forward with my career, and make something of it.

“Now, looking back on that, that's something that I'm a little bit proud of that I made something out of something that might not have happened.”

He paid tribute to former Fremantle assistant, now Geelong coach Chris Scott as well as his current coaches for helping him make the transition.

“My family for starters has been fantastic and I probably can credit Chris Scott for having a significant influence when he was here in the early days and also Mick Prior and Ross Lyon now,” he said.

“As well as all the coaches, but specifically those two in terms of my development the last two or three years of staying involved in the game they are people I would credit.

“There has been a huge family support from the start which has been fantastic.”

The West Australian

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