Geelong have plenty of work to do after their fairytale season came to a horror story end.
After missing the finals last year, the resurgent Cats were widely praised after they finished second then knocked off Hawthorn to set up their shot at a grand final berth.
But coach Chris Scott maintains he already knew his side was still a work-in-progress well before Sydney ended their 2016 campaign with a comprehensive 37-point beating in Friday night’s preliminary final at the MCG.
In truth, the final margin flatters Scott’s side, who didn’t kick a goal in the first quarter and trailed by as much as 55 points before the Swans kicked into self-preservation mode with a grand final berth in the bag.
Patrick Dangerfield did his part, as he has throughout his first season since crossing from Adelaide, and Joel Selwood played a prominent role too but they had precious little support.
“We know we’ve got work to do … if we had have won tonight we’d still have a lot of work to do,” Scott said.
“I don’t want to be in this position and talk about all the things we want to do next season. The reality is that while we worked so hard to put ourselves in this position and give ourselves a really good chance, we didn’t take it.
“It was a good season with a disappointing finish. You can’t do much more than earn the right to have a home prelim final.
“It’s an extraordinary amount of work to get to that point and it’s important to acknowledge that because everything in me and in us right at the moment is just feeling disappointment about the short term.”
The Swans backed up their first-quarter blitz against Adelaide last week with a similarly awesome opening term display against the shell-shocked Cats to lead by 39 points at the first break.
Sydney looked to be a team with momentum while Geelong were rusty in comparison having played one game in 27 days.
“I think I said a fortnight ago I wouldn’t be sitting here if we didn’t get the result saying that it was the bye after round 23 that killed us,” Scott said.
“It was completely in our control and we just didn’t deliver.”
Conversation will naturally turn to the playing futures of veterans Jimmy Bartel and Corey Enright, who was in tears as he left the ground after the defeat.
But Scott was in mood to discuss his plans for 2017.
“I’m not going to address any of that tonight – that would be inappropriate,” he said.
“I know that you need to speculate but I don’t.”