Gutted by a third preliminary final defeat in four years, Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield doesn't feel like the Cats have stepped any closer to an elusive AFL premiership.
They led by 21 points at halftime at the MCG on Friday night, but kicked just two goals in the second half as the Tigers ran them down to score a 12.13 (85) to 9.12 (66) win in front of 94,423 fans.
Asked if his side had at least taken another step towards that premiership goal with their performance, Dangerfield didn't sugarcoat his reply.
"Not particularly at the moment, to be honest," the Brownlow Medal winner said.
"A step is winning.
"We're not here just to be a bit-part player and unless you're there (in the grand final) that's what you are.
"... It's still bitter and raw at the moment, so it's hard to take stock on the whole season.
"We set out with winning a premiership in mind and we weren't able to do that."
The loss made it four preliminary final appearances without a grand final berth to show for it since Geelong's 2011 premiership.
Dangerfield has heard the criticism of the Cats' finals performances but said his teammates will continue to stick together and hit next season confident they can challenge for a flag once again.
"We've got a really close group, which is a special thing, we enjoy each other's successes," he said.
"We share the losses too and we pick ourselves up and we'll do that.
"It's tough because there is no tomorrow, that's the season finished, that's the bitterly disappointing part, that's the overriding emotion.
"But the (premiership) ingredients are there.
"It doesn't just happen, we've got to make sure we look to improve and get better."
Australian Associated Press