Western Bulldogs skipper Easton Wood has urged his teammates not to be satisfied with their barnstorming late-season run to the AFL finals and warns further improvement won't just happen.
The Dogs won seven of nine games to go from 15th on the ladder after round 14 to seventh, entering the finals series as the form team of the competition.
But their campaign came to an abrupt halt after a physical GWS inflicted a 58-point elimination final defeat on Saturday at Giants Stadium.
"We've got such a young group that it's really important that we don't just sit back and expect that, with another year, we'll get better," Wood said.
"Guys have to find a way to be motivated, to understand their game, to learn a bit more and go to work on their game.
"I'm in the same position at 30, along with the older guys - we've got to be striving to improve as well.
"If we can all do that, we'll give it a red-hot shake next year."
Wood was confident the 11 Bulldogs who played in their first final would benefit immensely from the experience, despite their disappointment with the second-half display when the Giants were able to get right on top.
That September experience looked almost unattainable this year when the inconsistent Dogs were languishing near the bottom of the table.
"I'm really proud of the group for being able to make it to this point," Wood said.
"We've seen a huge amount of growth across the entire group really since we came back from the bye.
"If you had have told us then that we'd be playing finals, then a lot of people would have laughed.
"We're disappointed that it ended this way and we'll use this as fuel for the pre-season and heading into next year."