Luke Beveridge insists his Western Bulldogs are better equipped to handle the physicality of an AFL final than they were in last year's "extreme" elimination exit.
After again finishing the home-and-away season in seventh, the Bulldogs face a sudden-death encounter against St Kilda at the Gabba on Saturday.
The 2016 premiership coach is expecting the Saints to bring the heat, much like Greater Western Sydney did in last year's bruising clash.
That final last year was pretty extreme. The intensity, the physicality and the brutality probably goes to another level (in a final)," Beveridge said.
"There's a core number of our players who have been able to experience that and meet that challenge in the past but it does take the greater 22 to be able to complete the puzzle.
"There's some off-the-ball stuff that occurs week to week and it definitely went to new levels in the past - and who knows what that will look like in this game.
"I think we're more equipped now and the Saints will test us because they're a big physical, contested side."
The Bulldogs were never in their last contest against St Kilda in June in the first round of the competition restart.
The Saints threw captain Jarryn Geary on playmaker Jason Johannisen, severely limiting the Norm Smith medallist's output.
Beveridge said his team had prepared for St Kilda to look at shutdown jobs on a number of their players, not just Johannisen.
"The Saints have done that over the course of the year, it's a strong part of their tactical approach to the game, some of those negating types," he said.
"We're expecting them to look at some of our influential players and deploy some sort of negating tactics.
"We've got to be ready for that without affecting what we're trying to achieve as a 22, but there'll be something coming our way."
Beveridge confirmed forwards Aaron Naughton (cheekbone) and Mitch Wallis (shoulder) will be picked to play after recovering from injuries sustained in their last match against Fremantle.