It was a controversial move at the end of the 2011 season when Fremantle decided to replace the popular Mark Harvey as coach with Lyon who had taken St Kilda to the grand finals of 2009 and 2010, but the Dockers took the brave move to try and go to the next level and it's now paid off.
For years Fremantle was the laughing stock of the AFL upon entering the league in 1995, but now they play an incredibly difficult style of football to play against and have entered the grand final next week after beating the reigning premier Sydney Swans 14.15 (99) to 11.8 (74) on Saturday night.
Fremantle couldn’t capitalise on its chances in the first quarter and-a-half against a brave, but clearly tired, sore and undermanned Swans and eventually the Dockers started to kick straight and ran out convincing 25-point winners to book in a clash with Hawthorn at the MCG next Saturday afternoon.
Aside from Danyle Pearce at Port Adelaide and Zac Dawson at St Kilda, no Fremantle player has played in a grand final before and it's an especially good reward for two of club's champions with Matthew Pavlich to play his 291st game next week and Aaron Sandilands his 193rd.
The Swans' brave premiership defence is now over and after losing in the first week it was always going to be hard to make it back to a grand final, but Sydney did well to beat Carlton last Saturday night at home to at least make it back to a preliminary final.
However, without Adam Goodes, Kurt Tippett, Sam Reid, Rhyce Shaw, Lewis Roberts-Thomson and Tom Mitchell with Lewis Jetta and Gary Rohan among those who were underdone but did play.
Ryan Crowley was brilliant for Fremantle not only keeping Sydney co-captain Kieren Jack to 11 possessions, but racking up 22 himself to go with five tackles and a goal.
Nat Fyfe continued to show that he deserved an All-Australian berth with 27 touches and two goals with Paul Duffield gathering 29 possessions, David Mundy 29, Michael Barlow 24, Stephen Hill 21 and returning key defender Michael Johnson 20.
Pavlich was also a strong contributor, particularly in the first half finishing with two goals from 15 disposals and two goals while Michael Walters kicked three goals and Nick Suban two.
Jarrad McVeigh worked tirelessly again for Sydney with 30 possessions while Luke Parker was dangerous up forward and a good ball winner on the rest of the ground finishing with 25 disposals, six clearances, four inside 50s and a goal.
Josh Kennedy gathered 24 possessions, Ben McGlynn 20 and Jesse White 20 despite being goalless.
Heath Gundy worked hard in the back-line and also quelled Pavlich's influence in the second half.
Fremantle missed three early attempts at goal and Sydney made the Dockers pay at the other end when Jetta snapped through a goal at the 11-minute mark.
Walters, though, answered back straight away for Fremantle but Fremantle continued to miss chances. The positive was that the Fremantle pressure meant Sydney couldn't escape its defensive half and the Dockers eventually got their second goal, through, Pavlich after six behinds.
Nick Suban missed another gettable shot soon after for Fremantle, though, and in a rare foray forward the Swans got their second goal thanks to a brilliant snap to seven-gamer Harry Cunningham.
Pavlich and Mundy missed two more shots before the quarter-time siren with Fremantle only managing 2.9 for the term after dominating play completely, but leading just by eight points.
The Dockers' kicking disease from set shots continued to start the second quarter with Chris Mayne missing yet another opportunity but it was only a matter of time before Fremantle put Sydney to the sword and set shot conversions to Pavlich and Crowley began that.
Fremantle went out to a 21-point advantage and even though Sydney eventually got the ball in its forward half for several minutes, the Swans couldn’t score and the Dockers went forward themselves with Nat Fyfe marking and goaling to make the margin 27 points.
It was then 33 when kicked another for the Dockers and 39 with Suban and Duffield kicking truly also.
Sydney's only score of the second quarter came at the 28-minute mark and was a behind to Jesse White with Fremantle having amassed five goals themselves to set up a 39-point half-time lead.
The Swans got the first goal of the second half through Parker in what was their first major since the 23-minute mark of the opening quarter and Sydney continued to apply pressure, but it all counted for nought when the Dockers got back out to a 38-point lead when Walters snapped a goal.
Sydney wouldn’t go away, though, and dual premiership retiring veteran Jude Bolton kicked a goal in direct reply with his first kick of the night but again the Dockers had all the answers and it was Walters who took a big mark and added his third goal.
Gary Rohan made an immediate impact coming on as Sydney's substitute replacing Craig Bird and kicked a goal to make the margin just 31 points again and it could have been 25 but Rohan missed a shot from directly in front shortly after.
Then Fremantle's sub Lachie Neale goaled at the other end to put the Dockers back out to a 37-point advantage and the grand final berth was sealed even with a quarter remaining when Fyfe added another just before three quarter-time.
The Dockers again got the first two goals of the last quarter through Barlow and Suban with the lead getting out to as much as 54 points before they eventually won by 25 points after Fremantle put the cue in the rack looking ahead to the grand final.
FREMANTLE 2.9 7.11 11.12 14.15 (99)
SYDNEY 2.1 2.2 5.5 11.8 (74)
Goals: Fremantle – Walters 3; Suban, Fyfe, Pavlich 2; Ballantyne, Crowley, Duffield, Barlow, Neale. Sydney – Cunningham, Rohan 2; Pyke, Jetta, Hannebery, McVeigh, McGlynn, Parker, Bolton.
Best: Fremantle – Fyfe, Crowley, Barlow, Mundy, Walters, Duffield, Hill, D Pearce. Sydney – Parker, McVeigh, McGlynn, Rampe, White, Grundy.
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Simon Meredith, Shane McInerney.
Official Crowd: 43,249 at Patersons Stadium.