Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir hopes missing the finals "burns" his players as they seek to use a positive end to a disappointing season as a springboard into next year.
Freo rounded out their 2023 campaign with a 37-point win over Hawthorn in a dead-rubber fixture at the MCG on Saturday.
Tough midfielder Caleb Serong (32 disposals, nine clearances) led from the front and young spearhead Jye Amiss kicked three goals in the 14.9 (93) to 8.8 (56) triumph.
A third win from their last five games left Fremantle in 14th position with a 10-13 record in a big step backwards after they surged to a semi-final appearance last year.
"We didn't want to be missing out on finals when we started, so hopefully it burns everyone at the club," fourth-year Freo coach Longmuir said.
"To me it feels like we've stepped back to the end of 2021 (when) we were really young and were able to get another pre-season and consolidate and bounce.
"I feel like we're in that position again.
"We didn't enter the season aiming to miss the finals - we wanted to build on last year - but I think there's been a lot of positives in the frustration."
Serong has been a shining light this season and starred against Hawthorn, with Andrew Brayshaw (33 disposals, three clearances) and Hayden Young (22, five) also influential through the midfield.
Tom Emmett (17 touches, two goals) impressed in his second senior game and Amiss took his season tally to 41 majors, making the 20-year-old spearhead the youngest Docker in history to boot 40 or more in a single year.
Michael Walters and Josh Treacy (two goals each) also hit the scoreboard for Fremantle, which kicked away to a 29-point half-time lead with five goals to two in the second term.
Longmuir expanded on one positive from an otherwise disappointing season - seeing significant growth in Freo's younger core.
"The backend of the season we’ve been able to play some younger players, well all year really, we’ve played some younger players and we’ve found some younger players," Longmuir said.
"Tommy (Emmett) is one, (Corey) Wagner’s come in late, even though he’s at his third Club he hasn’t played a lot of footy and he’s played really well.
"(Karl) Worner, (Sam) Sturt – the second half of the year he’s really taken his game forward.
"I don’t want to name any more because I will forget some, but we’ve been able to blood a lot of youth this year and get games into a lot of younger players.
"Tommy’s come in the last couple of weeks after really earning his spot and showing he is up to the level. So it’s going to be good for our depth going forward."