Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 2:57 PM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth premiership coach Bill Monaghan discusses the last round victory over Swan Districts, who he expects to return for Saturday's qualifying final against South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval and what he makes of the Bulldogs as opponents.

QUESTION: In some ways it was a game you just wanted to get through unscathed but you wouldn’t have wanted to go into the finals with a loss, so it was good to finish off well?
ANSWER: I thought for the first five or 10 minutes we were very good, we just couldn’t hit the scoreboard with three or four points and a couple on the full. I think three of those were from the top of the goal square that we messed up as well. Then Swans went down and kicked a couple of cheap goals and they were good this week. They had a crack, they ran hard forward and they caught us on the rebound so that's really disappointing for us, but in the end had our goal kicking accuracy been a bit better we would have won quite comfortably. Having 31 scoring shots on not a great day was OK but the fact that we gave up 21 is probably a bit disappointing. But nine of those were in the first quarter so it eventually turned but it took longer than we would have liked. But we were experimenting with a few things and whilst we weren’t trying to be disrespectful to Swans, once third spot was locked away we had to try a few things that may be of use to us come finals time. We did a couple of different things and some of them worked well, and some weren’t great. The best of them was probably Hamilton doing a reasonably good job back and Morrow doing reasonably well forward. I would think that at least now we are relatively confident those two can switch spots.

Q: Another one that worked was Corey Chalmers who got a rare chance in the midfield?
A: I thought his clearance work was fantastic and he's really seized his opportunity the last couple of weeks. This week behind VB he was probably the second best midfielder for us and he did a really good job.

Q: Did you get through unscathed from an injury point of view?
A: We had a couple of niggling injuries and we were really cautious with a couple including Duffy. The early indication is that we should be right and we expect at least that Keitel, Munns, Nelson and Potente all will be available next week so that's going to put a lot of pressure on selection. There's also another couple in the reserves who could easily come in. We will train with 35 or 36 over the next couple of weeks, hopefully four weeks, and we probably genuinely have 25 or 26 to select from this week.

Q: Is Luke Tedesco still available for selection during the finals?
A: He will continue to train and he has been really realistic about where he sits and we've been really honest with him. I wouldn’t completely rule out that he could play a part in the finals, but it's more unlikely than likely. That won't be news to him and it's getting closer to the end of his career than the start of it, but we'll go through that at the right time. He has been a wonderful servant and I'm really proud to have coached him, and he's a fantastic team player so I'm sure he will play a part during the finals in some way.

Q: It would have been easy for someone of less character to have retired mid-season when he was dropped the first time, but it shows how committed and dedicated he is to the club to see the season out?
A: He's also worked really hard to put himself in the frame and he played against Claremont and was better than average, he was far from our worst player but it's just the way the cards have fell that he's back out of the side. He is an outstanding character and loves the football club, and we love him. He will forever be a part of the history as a life member and premiership player. There aren’t too many people in both of those exclusive clubs.

Q: Do you expect Shane Nelson to be a certain starter on Saturday against South Fremantle?
A: We think so. Our indication is that he will play with a helmet on and that's been approved. He has actually trained to a certain level by kicking and running but staying out of the contested drills for two weeks. There was a point we actually thought he would play against Swans and it got really close that he was going to get cleared, but I think a lot of the decision in that if he doesn’t have to play this week, then next week is fine. He is structurally sound because it's been plated so it's only a matter of getting the swelling down and making sure there is no more bleeding. Four weeks is pretty much right for that.

Q: Tyler Keitel, Steve Potente and Dean Munns are certain to be right too?
A: Munns was just crook. Tyler actually trained and was filthy with me for not picking him and Steve has had some on-going issues with a number of things for the year and hasn’t had great continuity, but he has been in fantastic form. He has done a fair bit of training without doing all of it the last two weeks so I would expect he's right in the selection mix.

Q: You have known for a while you'd likely play South Fremantle in a qualifying final for a while, what are your thoughts now that it's here?
A: It's a whole new ball game. You play 23 rounds and 20 games to eliminate four sides, it's a long process to get to here. The players have worked really hard after we were 1-4. To get into a position of winning 12 of our last 15 is a fantastic effort for them to physically and mentally turn it around. Now it's a whole new world in the finals and we are going to need to be at our very best and a lot better than we were this week. The players know that. South at Fremantle is what the fixture says and we don’t hold any fears. South have been a really good side for the year so we will just prepare well mentally and physically, have a look at them and head down to the port next week. Hopefully for everyone who is there it's a cracking game.

Q: Aside from the Round 1 games of the last two years, Fremantle Oval is generally a place you have played well at as a team?
A: Just not in Round 1 when we don’t have a great record down there. That's something we might need to look at in terms of our pre-season programming, but that's for another day. We have never had an issue playing anyone and wherever it is. When I got here there was a real mental block about going down to Mandurah to play Peel, and people had views on certain grounds. But in my time I have worked on telling the players to just front up and play your best footy wherever you are and the results will take care of themselves. I haven’t heard for a number of years anyone talking about playing at home or away, we treat them both the same.

Q: The majority of your team has experienced grand finals and a number of them a premiership. Most of South Fremantle's team hasn’t. Do you expect that to be a factor?
Now that you've brought it up I hope it counts for a lot and I hope that's the difference between the two sides. But that's a little bit of an unknown really. Especially through 2013 we went in with a young and inexperienced side and played two finals, and won both of them. It depends on the club and the group that you have, and the way they are coached and mentally prepare. I think both have their advantages. I'm sure Todd will be telling his players that it's an advantage to be fresh and enthusiastic, and I'll be telling mine that we've got experiences to call on and some hurt from last year that can drive us. It's a bit like playing away and whether it's Saturday or Sunday games, and whether you have byes or no byes, it's about how you handle it and prepare for it. You just prepare for what you've got. There's no point Todd saying he has a finals experienced side and there's not any point me saying we are first timers at it, but it is a new finals series and all that really matters is this week.