Back-to-back preliminary final exits won't break North Melbourne but they will hurt and that's what will help the Kangaroos take the next step, according to Todd Goldstein.
The manner of the two defeats differed greatly - one a meek capitulation to Sydney and the latest a brave effort against a red-hot West Coast - but, nonetheless, the Roos find themselves out of the title race at the last hurdle.
Plenty can be taken from that in time but Goldstein isn't interested in trying to gloss over the pain.
"It's just shattering. Obviously it was a lot better game than we played last year but with the same disappointment," Goldstein said after the 25-point defeat at Domain Stadium.
"I think it's a really good effort to make the prelim from the start to the season we had, I think we can take a lot of solace out of that, but I think we realise that we've got to get better.
"We're still one step away from where we want to be. We've got to feel the hurt, accept what happened tonight, move on and look to get better."
Brad Scott's side looked set for a stunning upset with their manic pressure and ferocious tackling in a brilliant start against the Eagles.
The Roos held a deserved 20-point lead at quarter-time and still led at the main break before West Coast slowly got on top to finish comfortable winners.
It's a credit to North that they progressed that far after a poor start but Goldstein says they can't let themselves fall behind the eight-ball again next year.
"We need to start the season better than we did, we need to try and get into the top four and give ourselves more of an opportunity than we did," he said.
"It was a hard slog, we won eight of our last 11 games, and you need a lot of things to go right to do that so we need to make it easier for ourselves.
"We deserve to be here. Our brand of footy stacks up - we just need to make sure that we stick at it, back ourselves in and get better.
"It's all we can do."