Flying finish has Dockers primed for prelim

FORWARD Ashley Sharp says Fremantle will take belief from surviving a cut-throat finish to the NAB AFL Women's season and qualifying for a maiden finals campaign.

After losing to a rampaging Adelaide in round four, the Dockers couldn't afford missteps against the Western Bulldogs, Geelong and North Melbourne on the run home and went unbeaten to clinch second spot in the fiercely contested Conference A.

"After our loss to Adelaide during the season, we've played every game as a final," Sharp told womens.afl.

"It's good that we're used to (that pressure) going into (this weekend). Obviously, playing in a final is a whole new ball game. It's going to be completely different and we haven't experienced it before.

"We're excited to take on whatever comes our way."

Despite finishing with a 6-1 record, the Dockers have to hit the road for a preliminary final showdown against Carlton (4-3) at Ikon Park on Saturday.

However, first-year coach Trent Cooper and his team aren't wasting their energy focusing on where the game is being played.

"You do think about it, but you just get what you're given," Sharp said.

"We knew from the start we were going to have to fight all the way through.

"It's just the way the AFL has done it and we'll deal with it."

Sharp was a member of the Dockers teams that finished second last in 2017 and last year under Michelle Cowan.

The 21-year-old, who travels up to 90 minutes four times a week from work as a physical education administrator at Prendiville Catholic College to get to training, was thrilled she and her teammates have been rewarded for their hard work this year.

Players, staff and fans celebrate Fremantle's qualification for the preliminary final

"It's a huge relief (to play finals). You do all the hard work pre-season and then not getting the results you want it really is draining," Sharp said.

"You double-think about, 'Oh, do I really want to keep on doing this?' This season has brought all the belief back on why I want to play and why a lot of the girls are here.

"It's just such a great group.

"Kate Starre, our high-performance manager, has come in and killed it. She's put us through the hardest (training) we've ever had," she said.  

"That set us up for the season. That's why we are where we are now.

"Obviously the new coaches have been awesome as well."

Sharp has enjoyed the most productive season of her career, booting eight goals and averaging nearly seven disposals.

"I feel a lot more confident. I've played with most of the girls in the forward line for three years," she said.

"Four out of our seven forwards are at (WAWFL club) Swan Districts, which is where I play in the off-season.

"I've played with Gibbo (Kellie Gibson) for almost 10 years."  

The Dockers' multi-pronged attack has averaged 50 points a game, but will be sweating on the fitness of emerging star Sabreena Duffy, who hurt her ankle against North Melbourne last Sunday.

Duffy, who has kicked seven goals this season, the equal-second highest tally for the squad, will have to pass a test in order to be selected.

Integral midfielder Dana Hooker has been cleared of any damage after suffering a corked quad last weekend and is expected to play on Saturday.

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