Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich says there are no guarantees of success next season just because of the club's strong 2012 campaign.
The Dockers' season was ended with a 10-point semi-final loss to Adelaide on Friday night after a strong second half of the season saw them surge into the eight and knock out reigning premiers Geelong in the first week of September.
Many experts attributed Fremantle's mid-season turnaround to the players adapting to Ross Lyon's game plan, but Pavlich said he felt it was a reward for the club's approach at the draft in past years.
"You take it back to three or four years ago when the club went to the draft and drafted a lot of young talent in that were driven and motivated," he said.
"I think we're starting to see some of those guys develop in themselves and play some great football.
"We're pleased with what we were able to achieve, but clearly we need to be able to improve again to really threaten next year as well."
Pavlich singled out Clancee Pearce, Matt de Boer and Nathan Fyfe as standouts in the Dockers' young brigade that helped the team make the step up this season.
"I think we've learnt a lot and really progressed well. I think Ross used the term that we've evolved as a playing group and really matured," Pavlich said.
"The guys are hungry and motivated to get to training and work extremely hard, but it doesn't guarantee success just because it's another pre-season under Ross and we played finals this year."
Fremantle were in front of Adelaide until late in the third term on Friday night only to let the Crows run over the top of them.
Pavlich said the group was disappointed to have let the opportunity slip and did not buy into any excuses that the group was tired.
"We were in the game early and had control probably up until the last minute or so into that second quarter," Pavlich said.
"To let go of an opportunity like that certainly from my experience was disappointing and the group is hurting from it, but I think we'll be able to learn some really good lessons that will fuel the belief and fuel the effort that goes towards the pre-season."
Do you want to walk out in front of 90,000 people at a packed MCG and toss the coin at the 2012 AFL Grand Final? For your chance to win this incredible prize enter here.
Enter our Unbreakable Toyota Hilux competition and you and a friend will be at the biggest game of the year and you will toss the coin before the opening bounce.
For your chance to win this incredible prize enter here.