By the time the team did arrive, hundreds of loyal, passionate and appreciative fans had gathered decked out in purple with the Perth Airport itself getting right into the spirit just as it did before the side departed on Thursday.
Airport staff handed out ‘Well Done Freo’ signs to the fans in attendance, had purple and white balloons right throughout the airport.
Fremantle’s theme song then continued to be played over the PA with the fans singing along and indeed yelling out the now famous ‘Freo’ chant at every possible chance.
Every glimpse of someone coming out of the terminal and heading down the escalator received a cheer, but then the players decked out in purple arrived received a hero’s reception.
The players were obviously appreciative of the hundreds of supporters there to greet them and quickly were ushered through straight to the bus awaiting them.
Fremantle then went straight to its family fun day at Patersons Stadium which went off with barely a whimper but the Dockers' coach, captain and chief executive alike have vowed to give getting back to the AFL grand final for another chance in 2014 a real crack.
Despite the grand final loss, the Fremantle fans were still in celebration mode after seeing their team make it to the AFL grand final for the first time.
Each of the 22 players who played in the grand final, plus emergencies Tom Sheridan, Alex Silvagni and Jack Hannath, were introduced to their adoring fans with Ryan Crowley, Michael Barlow, Aaron Sandilands and captain Matthew Pavlich taking the microphone as did coach Ross Lyon and chief executive Steve Rosich.
All up, it lasted around 15 minutes before the players went back inside behind closed doors and the fans were left wishing for some interaction with their heroes to get some autographs and photos, but it wasn’t to be.
It didn’t seem to bother them, though, as they continued to enjoy having seen their team finally make it to an AFL grand final.
Lyon was a divisive figure among Fremantle supporters when he replaced Mark Harvey as coach following the 2011 season, but two years later he is beloved by everyone at the Dockers and received the biggest cheer of all from the supporters at Patersons Stadium when introduced.
Lyon was quick to thank the fans for their support and to pay his respects to his players for their efforts of making a grand final, but after four losing grand finals as a coach he has vowed to ensure the Dockers will make another run at a grand final, and ultimately a premiership.
"We are all really humbled by the support of our fans and members here and in Melbourne. It has been unbelievable and to still come out here in these conditions after the loss makes us really humble and it is much appreciated by us all," Lyon said.
"I know you are all really proud of the players and I know I am and the whole club is for them to give the effort that we are all proud of.
"I have never experienced anything like the support we had at the prelim and the same with the Freo chant at the MCG yesterday. This is the start of our journey and there was a lot we will learn out of it, and we will come again."
Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich might have achieved everything in the game in his 291 matches where he is a six-time Doing Medallist and six-time All-Australian, but a premiership is the one thing that still eludes him.
The 31-year-old desperately wants another crack at winning a flag, but is realistic enough to know that the Dockers will have to improve even further in 2014 to make that happen.
"I probably should qualify what I said right at the end of the grand final when I said we would be back, and I still very much believe that, but what it will take is a huge amount of hard work and there's no guarantee you'll get there," Pavlich said.
"I'm not putting a dampener on what is a celebration of a really positive year, but it's going to take a huge amount of hard work to get back to this position that we found ourselves in. I have the full faith in our playing and coaching group, though, of giving ourselves every chance of doing that."
Fremantle chief executive Rosich also wanted to thank the Fremantle supporters and members for their efforts starting with the preliminary final win at Patersons Stadium, in Perth before the team departed for the grand final and then in Melbourne at the parade and match itself.
"Over the last nine days we have witnessed the energy of the Fremantle members and supporters first of all here at Patersons Stadium and during the week in Melbourne at both the parade on Friday and at the MCG yesterday," Rosich said.
"The Fremantle supporters were absolutely terrific and it was something to behold as they were here in Western Australia."
While Rosich acknowledged the performance of the 2013 team of making the club's first AFL grand final, he also was quick to point out that attention has already switched to 2014 and trying to get back there for another crack at that elusive premiership.
"Although we can stand here and reflect on our 2013 season where we played our 429th game yesterday as a club in our first grand final, the attention very quickly turns on to season 2014," Rosich said.
"The players will be at the club until Tuesday or Wednesday, and then be back in training very shortly to do their very best for season 2014.
"We can't promise that we will get back to the stage of the grand final but what we can promise is that everyone associated with your football club will work extremely hard and do their best to give us the best chance of getting back to the MCG."
Barlow has been a favourite of the Fremantle faithful since he burst onto the scene as a mature-aged recruit in 2010, and the 25-year-old is glad the Dockers can at least come back to Perth after the grand final knowing that they have no regrets despite their missed opportunities.
"We didn’t bring the result back that we would have liked, but our fans have been through thick and thin so this sort of support from them doesn’t surprise me at all," Barlow said.
"It's still a devastating feeling to have lost and there's a real sense of disappointment amongst the group even though we did leave it out there, and leave with no regrets. We didn’t come home with the result we wanted though."
Crowley might be the No. 1 villain amongst the AFL's other 17 clubs, but he got a rousing reception from Dockers fans after he did a terrific job in the grand final on Hawthorn's Sam Mitchell. He was blown away by the reception the team got from the fans.
"On the way here I was saying to the boys that it's raining and there will probably be no one here, but we turn up and this is what they produce. It's been fantastic," Crowley said.
Sandilands was a tower of strength in the middle for Fremantle in the grand final and he wanted to acknowledge the support Fremantle received in Melbourne.
"It was awesome to see all the purple over in Melbourne at the parade and in the game. We really appreciate all that support," Sandilands said.