PHOTO: Belinda Wilson set to coach in her first W-League grand final | Credit: Courtenay Grant-Wakefield Images

It is rare that players have more experience than their coach but that is the case for Brisbane Roar coach Belinda Wilson.

Such is the vast experience of her squad that Wilson heads into the Grand Final with the knowledge that the majority can handle the pressure having been here before.

Wilson's first season was a successful one with the Roar taking out the 2012/13 premiership after a slow start but it ended, for the first time, at the semi final stage of the competition.

Season Six sees the Brisbane Roar back in the W-League Grand Final and Wilson couldn't be prouder of the team.  Dani Brady caught up with the coach and her team.

Belinda, how does it feel to make the Grand Final?

It feels fantastic! We've had an up and down season and the standard hasn't always been where we would have liked, but to finish top 4 is a fantastic achievement, and a good show of character from the squad.

The Roar have had an up and down season, what do you accredit this to?

We've had a big adjustment coming from Football Queensland to Brisbane Roar, so there's now much more expectation.

We have to be accountable to the name and the brand of the Roar so now we have Roar people checking up on our results and the levels and standards of how we are playing and training.

Also, our pre-season wasn't ideal.  We do have a lot of senior Matildas, U 17's and U 20's, who had national team commitments, as well as myself and Mel [Andreatta] away coaching the U 17's, so that was a bit of a disruption.  We've also had 9 brand new players come into the squad this year, after 9 left.

12 weeks is not long to get a team together and when you have a team like ours, we counted just the one day where we actually had the full squad of 20 train together and that was 3 days prior to the season starting.

We've had games where they have just really gone wrong but the following week we've then gone and backed up with a better result.

Wilson with assistant coaches Melissa Andreatta and Pam Grant | Credit: Courtenay Grant-Wakefield Photo Wilson with assistant coaches Melissa Andreatta and Pam Grant | Credit: Courtenay Grant-Wakefield Photo

Hats off to the girls who through experience and cohesiveness, have been able to pull it together, in such a short turn around of this W-League 12 week competition.

The last few games has seen the Roar seem to have found their form.  Was there a game in particular or a moment, where you saw the team "turn a corner" and find their collective form?

Yes, the last Adelaide away game.  Although the result didn't quite go our way, the performance and the intensity was magnificent.  It was a long day.  It started at 5am and ended at 11pm, in such hot and humid conditions.

In terms of our passing game, I couldn't have been more happier with the girls under those conditions and we were on artificial turf too!  From that point on, we already knew that we had made top 4, so it was just a matter of building on that performance and getting in a good recovery in between games.

Even with an inconsistent season the team has managed to to qualify for the for their fifth grand final. What does that say about the resilience of the squad?

All squads go through ups and downs.  Our average age of our players is still only about 21 or 22; although some of the players have been around for a long time.

They're actually still young adults and growing up as people.  Some of our newly labelled "senior" players are for the first time learning to become leaders, on and off the pitch.

If you're missing the likes of Amy Chapman, who was gone from quite early in the season; her experience and her leadership on the pitch is dearly missed.   We saw that in a few games after Chappy did her ACL.

So the likes of Tameka [Butt] and Katrina [Gorry] both have had to step up, where they've never really had to before in that mentoring role.  We've all grown from that and have helped these players accept their senior responsibility by bringing it into their game as well.

It really helps our youth players learn, develop and grow.. and gives them the space to still allow them to be and act young.  That pressure is somewhat then taken off, when other more senior players step up and take on those leadership roles.

What's been the most difficult aspect of coaching this season and how would you change that next season?

Managing the Preseason a lot better so that by Round 1 of the next W-League, we are ready to go and not trying to catch up. That's the biggest thing I look at knowing that next year is a World Cup year and, by history, most of my players will be a part of that in some way or somewhere.

In terms of planning that also comes down to the FFA in them letting us know when the next season begins so that we can actually start to plan our pre season now and that the game ends up being a better product for all.

You have such an experienced squad regarding finals, have you used any methods to keep the team calm and focused?

I'm very lucky as I have girls who have experienced the big games before in the W League, the Olympics and the World Cup, both at youth levels and the senior levels.  It's about how we mould as a squad.  It's about how those senior players help out and prepare the less experienced players.

From a coaching point of view. not too many changes.  We still have a game to play on the weekend.  Our training week will be very similar to other weeks.

It's about getting a result.  For the semi final it was about getting the 3 points, and it will be the same focus for the grand final.

"At the end of the day, its the last game of the season, so its also about going out there and having a bit of fun."

A first grand final for the coaching staff | Credit: Courtenay Grant-Wakefield Photo A first grand final for the coaching staff | Credit: Courtenay Grant-Wakefield Photo

What are your thoughts and feelings on how the Roar youth you brought on board have stepped up this season?

If I have to ask any of those youth players to step up and do a job, they will.  Because they're in this environment every day, and the senior girls will always support them 100%.

Eesh [Ayesha Norrie] had games where she sat on the bench and had no minutes on the park, and now she's putting her hand up for a starting XI spot in a grand final!

She still has a lot to learn but she is growing with every experience she gets.

With the likes of Sunny Franco who had the limelight in the U17s, the first game against Melbourne, I described her as a "headless chicken". (laughs)

She allowed the emotions and the feelings to take over but if you had have seen her come on the field last week (in the semi final against Canberra United), it was just like any senior player entering the pitch to do their job.

That's what you expect from the youth players.  Sometimes they'll be able to handle the nerves, and on other days it will completely take over and you just don't know which it will be!

What are your words of wisdom going to be to the girls and your coaching staff this weekend?

In terms of the game, its about doing what we do best and thats keep the ball and move the ball quickly.  Make sure we can maintain possession in certain areas of the pitch and when we can go forward, to attack quickly.

Defensively, its about trying to win the ball as high as we can.  We know who Melbourne's dangerous players are and they caused us a few issues last time we played them.

We were very lucky to come away with a 1-0 win in my opinion.. that result will only fire up Melbourne and we are very aware of that!  Keeping track of our emotions and allowing our own style of play to unfold.  Having players with grand final experience helps.

Remembering that Melbourne lost the grand final last year and that it will still hurt.  The likes of De Vanna and Fishlock have really made that team much stronger, they're both big game players.

"We just have to play our game and not allow Melbourne to take control."

What's your message to the Melbourne Supporters this weekend?

Come out and support!  Come and enjoy the game.. it will be fantastic! Two quality teams that play a really good brand of football.  Be passionate and loud!