Fremantle defender Luke McPharlin admits the player group is still in a state of numbness following Saturday's grand final defeat to Hawthorn at the MCG.
The Dockers returned to a heroes' welcome in Perth on Sunday, with around 2000 fans turning up to the club's family day at Patersons Stadium.
But even the rousing support couldn't erase the team's pain of missing out on their premiership dream.
McPharlin and skipper Matthew Pavlich will both be 32 by the start of next season, while ruckman Aaron Sandilands will be 31.
All three will play on in 2014, but it might be their final shot at flag success.
Although Fremantle have already been installed as premiership favourites for next year, McPharlin said it didn't mean too much.
"Unfortunately it's such a ruthless game, there's no guarantees. There's no guarantee we'll be there next year," McPharlin said on Monday.
"To participate in a grand final was a tremendous effort by this football club. But to not come away with the ultimate prize was disappointing.
"Guys were pretty exhausted from the weekend and all the emotion that surrounds participating in a grand final.
"Overwhelmingly, it's just a sense of numbness and disappointment."
The Dockers were left to rue a wasteful first half in which they kicked 1.6 and had several other shots sail out on the full.
Fremantle closed to within three points in the third quarter, but Hawthorn stepped up a gear in the final term to secure their 11th premiership.
"A lot of the basics went wrong for us - dropped marks, missed shots etc," McPharlin said of the 15-point loss.
"We'll rue a lot of those missed opportunities, particularly in front of goal.
"I'm sure they'll haunt us a bit over the summer.
"But we'll come back in pre-season, get to work, and work to improve and grow."
Fremantle have emerged as an AFL heavyweight under coach Ross Lyon.
And although the club managed to reach their first grand final this season, McPharlin said there was a strong resolve amongst the group to improve even further.
"Nothing to celebrate here. We'll get together and reflect on a season where we worked very hard, but ultimately missed out," the 31-year-old said.
"Over the year and even in the grand final, our effort to continually fight, never give in - that's been a hallmark of this football club for 18 months to two years.
"But we need to work on some skills under pressure."
McPharlin said it was nice to see a defender win the Norm Smith medal, but he wished it hadn't have been a player from a rival team.
"I'm thrilled for Brian Lake. It's great to see a defender get up and win," McPharlin said.
"He played a tremendous game, but I wish he hadn't.
"He was stopping a lot of our thrusts forward, and rolling off and taking those contested marks, particularly late in the game."