FREMANTLE can put the presentations away and know that its job is done. Having sold the vision for its future to Adam Cerra, the young gun would have seen all he needs to see in round 20 to know that the Dockers' plan is coming together.

The rare opportunity to bring three top-end midfielders through together as the centrepiece of a rebuild has been a major selling point in the Dockers' attempt to retain Cerra beyond this season.

In future captain Andrew Brayshaw, second-year hard nut Caleb Serong and the classy Cerra, the Dockers have three future midfield stars who can drive a successful era as other important pieces are assembled around them.

Cerra would have seen glimpses of Fremantle's long-term plan throughout 2021, but senior stars Nat Fyfe and David Mundy have remained key midfield figures, guiding their younger teammates.

Against Richmond on Sunday afternoon, however, the young trio took the lead and combined as well as they have in their 29 games together, bringing Fremantle's vision for them to life at Optus Stadium.

Brayshaw was exceptional with 39 disposals (15 contested), 12 tackles and eight clearances. He "oozed leadership" late, according to his coach, and won two crucial clearances in the last 20 seconds deep in defence.

Serong's 20 disposals included the goal that put the Dockers in front with eight minutes remaining, with the 2020 NAB AFL Rising Star snapping off one step under pressure.

Cerra, meanwhile, had a career-best 33 disposals and 735m gained, winning 11 possessions in the frantic final quarter to ensure the job of beating the back-to-back premiers was finished.

If the injuries to Brownlow medallists Dustin Martin and Fyfe cancel each other out, and the massive third quarters for veterans Trent Cotchin (15 disposals) and David Mundy (13) were a breakeven, then the young trio was the difference on Sunday. 

They were the major reason Fremantle had a clearance advantage (+15) and won the contested ball (+26), giving Fremantle the best look yet at what its future will be if it can retain all three. 

The Dockers do not yet have an answer from Cerra on whether he will sign a new contract beyond this season. They are assured his mind is not yet made up.

Fremantle's Adam Cerra and Caleb Serong share a moment during a training session in June, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The 21-year-old has the option of a four-year deal that has been on the table from Fremantle since at least mid-March, or a shorter contract if he is not ready to commit to living in Perth for such a period. 

The reality of his late decision, and the complex nature of deals involving high calibre youngsters like Cerra is that clubs are planning as if he will be on the move to ensure they are prepared.

It would also be foolish for his management to be unaware of the market at this point if the young Docker's decision is to return to Melbourne after being recruited with pick No.5 in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.

LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?

The Dockers' rebuild is gathering momentum, whether they play finals this season or not, and injuries gave them the chance to showcase what is coming.

Around their three young midfield stars, who all have point of difference, are classy half-back Hayden Young, star ruckman Sean Darcy, still just 23, and Liam Henry, who got his chance on the wing against the Tigers.   

The youngest team in round 20 and the second least experienced in average games played sold the future to Cerra itself on Sunday. Now the Dockers just need to wait, knowing they have done everything possible to retain him.