IMPROVE, find some speed, and finish in the top four. That was West Coast coach John Worsfold's initial recipe for a more successful finish to the 2013 season, after the Eagles fell to Collingwood in last night's semi-final by 13 points.

Worsfold, who lamented his side's inability to move the ball cleanly enough from stoppages during the tight final quarter, said the club had been buoyed by the development of several young players this year and expected more improvement from within next season.

The coach, who was without Mark LeCras, Mark Nicoski and Josh Kennedy for much if not all of the season because of injury, expects a completely fit squad to arrive for day one of pre-season training in eight weeks.

But he indicated making the top four and earning the potential opportunity of two home finals and a week off in September, would be a crucial next step for his side.

''I've spoken to them and said, 'Improve'. We've got to get better. We finished fifth, won a final, lost the next one. The top four teams generally get through and that's where we've got to get to. It's a pretty strong indicator, top four. Most years it's been the top four left,'' Worsfold said.

''A lot of improvement came this year - [Nic] Naitanui, [Jack] Darling, [Andrew] Gaff, [Brad] Sheppard, [Chris] Masten, [Luke] Shuey, [Patrick] McGinnity. A lot of improvement came out of those guys.

''[Josh] Hill showed he's going to be a valuable player on our list, [Eric] Mackenzie improved again this year, [Will] Schofield improved again this year but we've still got to get better again and there is, no doubt, more improvement within the group.

''We took the most of our opportunities this year. I thought the boys had some outstanding wins to get the opportunity to play in the finals and finish fifth, get a home final. We won a final and we were just short of Collingwood today to progress.''

The West Coast forward line that loomed too large for many teams this year struggled to unsettle the Collingwood back line for most of last night, with the Eagles scoring just four goals after quarter-time.

While Darling kicked two goals and Naitanui and Dean Cox scored one apiece from free kicks, neither Quinten Lynch nor Kennedy was able to take advantage of a Magpies defensive group missing captain Nick Maxwell.

After scoring five goals in a fast-start first quarter, the Eagles had scored just one goal in quarters two and three until Darling outmarked Alan Toovey in the final five seconds of the third term.

Misses to Darling and Schofield during the third quarter were costly, as Collingwood scored four straight goals to take the lead, but a free kick to Naitanui in the opening minute of the final term, and his subsequent goal, got the Eagles back to within four points.

With Lynch subbed off just before three-quarter-time, Kennedy then regained the lead, taking his third mark and kicking his first goal five minutes in, but Collingwood regrouped to close out the match.

''I've been in the game long enough to know maybe a 10-goal lead at quarter-time might be enough, but even then there's a lot of game to play. It was a good start by us, then the game tightened up and it was a good, tight, tough game pretty much for the majority of it,'' Worsfold said.

''The game was on the line with 10 minutes to go and there was a fine line. A couple of things that happened went their way not our way, whether it be a bounce of the ball or the ball almost out and we were away, and they grabbed those opportunities right at that time and it gave them enough of a lead.

''We didn't get some clean ball out of some of the stoppages. There were a lot of stoppages in the last quarter and opportunities to get out and go forward which we didn't really get enough of.''

Worsfold said a decision by Darren Glass on whether to continue on as captain next season would not be made for some time, but that the defender would provide ongoing leadership either way.

''He's an outstanding leader, an outstanding captain. If he wasn't actually named captain it wouldn't mean that his leadership would drop away, he would still offer fantastic leadership around our club, possibly in an even stronger role supporting a developing captain,'' he said.