So the last home-and-away matches have been played and we all look now to this weekend's big finals games with such anticipation and excitement.
But spare a thought for those other teams whom are heading back to their respective drawing boards fixing to start it all over again.
I tuned in on Sunday afternoon to watch the Tigers tackle the Power, a game that ended up in a thrilling tie.
A match that had it all in regards to thrills and spills and even a couple of medal chances. I watched after the final siren as all those involved wander around the MCG with blank looks on their faces. A look as if to say 'well, what was all that for then?'
A commentator put it most succinctly when he said 'It's just like dancing with your sister,' eluding to the fact that for two and a half hours 44 men smashed each other for absolutely no result. I have been a part of only one draw in my career and it stings.
That same feeling hits you the moment after you have played that last game of the year amplified by the jealousy that other teams will play on and you will not. The emptiness of a season wasted rocks you to your core.
There is a quiet devastation that comes after 10 months of physically torturous pre-season and in season games, failing to earn a spot in September. You can see it in the eyes and read it on the faces of your team-mates and it tells a story of failure.
It's a lonely, empty feeling because you know you have done exactly that, failed. You are stranded with little else to do but watch and hope.
Watch the eight teams that made it dance and hope that what you have done until now was enough to retain your coveted spot on the list.
There are 10 teams in the AFL right now full of young men doing exactly that - questioning themselves and second guessing their future over a sorrow-drowning ale.
I remember thinking that way regardless of how many years I had left on my contract.
The final siren sounds and you pull your boots and socks off in the change room all the while wondering what was to be your fate over the next few months.
Am I still seen as an important component of this team? Or am I expendable, tradable even delistable.
It's a desperate moment where your fate hangs in the balance until the coach calls you in for that dreaded individual final player meeting where they let you know. See you next year mate, or see you later!
The average life span of a footballer is four years. Not long really especially if I tell you that I played for 13 years and it feels like now I blinked my eyes and it was gone.
For just a touch under half of those years we were involved in finals football. It is as everyone says, amazing.
The crowds come out along with the balmy spring time sun and you feel important.
It's the kind of respect you feel when you know you are good, or at least not as bad as those other losers in the bottom half of the ladder. There are anthem's to be sung and good football to be played while the rest attend pubs on Mad Monday drinking sessions.
Ah, life was good.
So if the winners feel like that, the others feel the exact opposite.
Let's leave the two new franchises out of the equation because as we know they are just starting out. But for teams like Melbourne, the Bulldogs, Port Adelaide and Brisbane, their lists are at this very moment scattered with those guys pondering their futures, questioning their value.
It's a cut-throat business and failure is rarely tolerated, just ask Brett Ratten.
If the machine is not working, then the cogs aren't coming together so we better get rid of the old ones and find some newer components, until that magical balance is found and we win.
Unfortunately, once you hit the age of about 28-plus, you are more prone to be blamed as one of those failing finer parts even if you are still in perfect working order.
It's a flaw inherent in our AFL system because coaches and regimes need to find a scapegoat. 'We need to rebuild, start again!' they say, buying themselves time.
Look to those teams mentioned and more acutely at those in that age bracket. Their sorrow drowning is a tad more on edge than those younger scamps and perhaps even a little more thrifty.
So, as you flick through the papers and read all about the successes of the finals teams and their demi-gods, spare a thought for those mere mortals, nervously setting themselves for that call from the coach.
Oh I tell you I know it well!
Russell RobertsonMy tips