"We're a genuine chance!"
As Swan Districts coach Greg Harding exhorted his players to find something special in the first semifinal on Sunday, he identified clear parallels to the club's most recent premiership, in 2010.
An 18-point victory over West Perth at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday ensured that Swans would tackle East Perth in the finals.
Victory over the Royals in the preliminary final three years ago foreshadowed Swans winning the best grand final of the modern era by just one point.
"There is the whiff of 2010 around here," Harding said after Saturday's 10.13 (73) to 7.13 (55) win.
Harding had few doubts that his team could match that 2010 effort after taking care of a Falcons outfit that had little to play for and only briefly threatened the home team.
West Perth were guaranteed a second semifinal berth against Claremont, also on Sunday, and coach Bill Monaghan admitted that his team's recent focus had been on that match as much as the final round against Swans.
While West Perth played with at least one eye on next week, with Jay van Berlo even allowed to leave the ground early to catch a plane, Harding warned that no team could be taken lightly, especially in finals.
"Anyone who makes it is a genuine chance (for the flag)," he said. "But our best footy is good enough to beat any side.
"We have battled to find consistency from week to week, but to make the finals we had to win nine of the past 12 matches, which means we have played some pretty good footy.
"The competition is so close. Claremont have got separation in terms of points, but they can be beaten.
"It will be the same next week. If we play poorly East Perth will whack us."
The blustery conditions robbed the contest of any significant display of skill, but underlined the importance of Swans' defensive unit.
Jamie Bennell was the standout in the first half as he relished the chance to chalk up 29 possessions, playing mostly as loose man at half-back, and rebounding back men Kyle Hams and Graham Jetta, and centrepiece Tallan Ames, all impressed.
Hams became the most influential player on the field by blanketing West Perth captain Jason Salecic while making full use of his 21 disposals.
Monaghan, whose contract was extended for three years last week, admitted that the second semifinal guarantee might have affected his team.
"We did enough to be happy but our focus for much of the past two weeks has been about playing Claremont in the second semi," Monaghan said. "Most of our focus has been on playing relatively good football here but with one eye on the second semi.
"We wanted to win and there was nothing we did that wasn't about winning, but while our blokes turned up mentally were we 95 per cent and Swans 100 per cent?"
Aaron Black won the ball 37 times for the Falcons, while fellow midfielder Shane Nelson had 42 touches, including 17 in the last term when Swans appeared likely to run away with the game.
our best footy is good enough to beat any side. " *Greg Harding *