As devastated players wandered the Fremantle dressing-rooms looking for solace after their AFL grand final defeat, defender Michael Johnson had two words to sum up why it hurt so badly.
"So close," Johnson said.
As his side closed twice to within three points in the third term following a frayed opening quarter which left them playing catch-up for the entire match, Fremantle genuinely thought momentum had shifted their way.
"We were coming. We felt like we were coming," tagger Ryan Crowley said as his side clawed at the Hawks.
Eventually Hawthorn steadied, saw off one last spirited final quarter Dockers charge, and raised the premiership cup.
Johnson, who overcame a calf injury to play strongly in the grand final, had no doubt Fremantle's poor kicking for goal in the first quarter was a key factor in his side's day of unsuccessfully playing catch-up.
"If we kicked straight in the first half, we come into half-time and it's different," Johnson said.
"Credit to Hawthorn. They're a proud team. They've been the best team this year. But - so close."
Now Johnson says the the Dockers must learn the lessons Hawthorn did following their narrow 2012 grand final loss, and build on what he believes has been an excellent season for his club.
"Hawthorn lost to Sydney last year and came back firing in 2013," he said.
"We'll review this game. We'll have a look at things, and it's up to the boys to switch back on over the break, and decide when they want to get going again.
"I know a lot of the boys are wanting to get back to it now. We'll come back, no doubt."