It came down to Essendon or Carlton, with Docherty citing several reasons he rebuffed Essendon’s advances to call the Blues his home.
Docherty put two frustrating years at the Lions behind him when he came home to Victoria at the end of the 2013 season.
He was one of five players branded the “Go Home Five” and criticised by many for the decision not to stick it out in Brisbane. But Docherty explained in his collumn in The Herald Sun that he felt surplus to the Lions’ requirements and had begun to be chased by several Victorian suitors.
“About midway through my second year at the Lions, I felt like my career was not going how I had imagined at Brisbane,” Docherty wrote.
“I didn’t play at all in my first year after hip surgery and in year two my manager started fielding calls from Victorian clubs.
“At times I didn’t feel wanted at all by Brisbane, but all of a sudden here were all these suitors asking if I wanted to come home to Victoria.
“That’s the part that doesn’t get spoken about in the media a lot.
“Just that feeling of being wanted can be hard to resist when you want to get home, too.”
“All four wanted to shore up their half-back line, but I narrowed the decision down to Essendon and Carlton,” he explained.
The All-Australian described how his first meeting with the Blues put him at ease immediately.
“The manager and I met with then Blues coach Mick Malthouse and then football boss Andy McKay. We talked casually about footy and life and I just felt really comfortable,” he wrote.
“I pitched that against Essendon and the Bombers didn’t have a coach at that time.
“James Hird had been stood down and there was uncertainty surrounding the ASADA situation, which put me off a bit.”
He never considered the other clubs bidding for his signature, although he acknowledged he might have had a premiership medal if he’d chosen the Bulldogs.
While Docherty was a Blues fan as a kid, he didn’t consider that the deciding factor in his decision.
“I was a Blues fan growing up, but I still feel I chose with my head and not my heart. Carlton was the right call for my footy and I have no regrets about that decision.”
Docherty returned to AFL action in Round 1 after nearly 900 days on the sidelines battling back-to-back ACL injuries to the same knee.