Sharks "haven't achieved anything": Monaghan
East Fremantle coach Bill Monaghan has promised his playing group are not getting ahead of themselves after returning to the WAFL Finals last year.
Following several down years, the Sharks finished second on the WAFL ladder last season with 13 wins before losing to Claremont in the preliminary final.
Monaghan said the club was aware they could slide back down the ladder if they let their level drop.
“It’s fairly simple because we haven't had any success at East Fremantle for a long period of time.  our last premiership, I think it was six or seven years before last year before we’ve played in the finals,” Monaghan told Sports Breakfast.
“There’s been a progression, but the players certainly aren’t getting ahead of themselves. It’s really still encouraging them to be the best they can be and to take the game on and to grow and learn.
“It’s not like we’ve been around the money for a while and you have to worry about motivation. The players are super motivated, they know they haven’t achieved anything at this stage, so telling them we got close last year but close isn’t good enough means they’re driving our standards and they’re really keen.”
The Sharks’ preseason has had a different look this year with their East Fremantle Oval home undergoing major renovations, but Monaghan said interruptions had been minimal.
“[Preseason] has been a little bit different. We’re out at Cockburn training at the Dockers facility and we’re around at a few other places over the next couple of weeks, so a bit to get used to, but certainly out at Cockburn, the deck there’s outstanding,” he said.
“The players are working really hard and other than a couple of little minor injuries that we hope to get back into full training over the next couple of weeks, we’ve been really happy with the preseason.
“Most of them are doing work. It’s really hard, a lot of its around load and managing soreness and even the guys who aren’t on the park doing the full sessions have got a fair bit of running and rehab-type work to do, so it’s not like they’re sitting on the sidelines doing nothing.”
Monaghan said injury-troubled pair Dillon O’Reilly and Cody Leggett were on track to feature in round one.
Some familiar faces have returned to the Sharks this summer, with the lure of home proving strong for Hugh Dixon, Tom Joyce (both West Coast), Harry Marsh (Subiaco) and Josh Cripps (Carlton VFL).
Monaghan singled out Dixon as an important inclusion.
“Hugh played some really good footy at last year AFL level, we were disappointed to lose him but excited for Hugh last year. He showed us last year in the AFL he can ruck, so that’s probably added another string to his bow,” he said.
“All the other guys, a couple of them returning, we added little a bit more pace in Ben McGuire, another good runner in Fraser Turner, so it’s probably just replenishing our stocks. We’ve lost a little bit and we’re not getting the kids coming through because [of] a high number of kids drafted over the last couple of years.
“We’ve lost a couple as well, so it’s not like we’ve gone out and recruited super heavily. Harry Marsh, we put on our East Fremantle hat, we call him a returning player, not a recruit, so I guess it just depends which way you look at it, we’re always trying to put a positive spin on it. He’s going really well as well, so we’re really excited about what Harry can bring to the table.”
The WAFL season kicks off on Easter Weekend in April, with the Sharks getting their campaign underway against the Peel Thunder at Lane Group Stadium on Good Friday.
IMAGE: The West Australian