Michael Walters will never forget the words of his mum and wife when he was about to quit football in 2012.

They are words he recalls regularly, words which he believes ultimately led to him achieving, in his 11th AFL season, selection in the 2019 All-Australian team.

Three years in to his career, then-Fremantle coach Ross Lyon sent an overweight Walters away from the AFL to Swan Districts.

Walters was 21. His wife was pregnant.

"I just thought my career was done, I went back and had a good chat to my family, and I just said, 'I'm not sure I want to play footy any more'. My motivation and my drive was not there. 

"And they said, 'Look, if you want to quit footy, quit, but if you do that, you have to have something to fall back on'."

The following season, 2013, Walters helped propel the Dockers to the Grand Final and made the short list, but not final team, of that year's All-Australian squad. 

The accolade came last year after an outstanding personal season which saw him in consecutive weeks - against Brisbane and Collingwood in rounds 10 and 11 - secure victory for the Dockers with the final scoring kick of a match.

"Routine under pressure stands up, it is the same with structure - if you have the right structure in place in footy, footy itself is going to lead you to where you want to be," Walters said of his breakout 2019.

"My goalkicking routine is exactly the same - it doesn’t change if I'm 20 metres out or 45 metres out, it is always going to be the same and under pressure it is always going to stand up."