Shattered Giants coach Leon Cameron concedes his side was below its best in Saturday night's heartbreaking preliminary final loss to the Western Bulldogs.
Cameron's side fell just six points shy of qualifying for the club's first AFL grand final, after scores were level at Spotless Stadium with just over three minutes left on the clock.
Earlier in the last quarter GWS had built a 14-point lead, but the tireless Bulldogs finished the better to overhaul the Giants at a pulsating Spotless Stadium.
"It's disappointing but the Dogs deserved to win," Cameron said.
"We scrapped pretty well but we didn't play particularly well for most of the night.
"Their pressure was great and I thought they probably had the better of us for two and a half quarters, which normally ends up with a win."
"We had little moments .. but they're hard to win prelims," he added.
GWS lost co-captain Callan Ward in the second quarter after he was collected in the jaw by a stray knee in a marking contest.
Ward was left slumped on the ground for several minutes before being helped to his feet and leaving the field.
Earlier in the term, the Bulldogs lost Jordan Roughead to concussion after the football was kicked into his face at close range.
"It's disappointing to lose your skipper early, he's obviously a really good leader of our footy club," Cameron said.
"He cracks in and helps our clearances but they lost Roughead as well, so it evens out. Twenty one players took on 21 players for two and a half quarters."
"There's a good story that we're on the march and I'm rapt our boys are heading in the right direction, but the story is obviously the Dogs who have won through three tough finals to get to the grand final."
There was one silver lining out of the game for GWS, with Cameron suggesting veteran forward Steve Johnson was leaning towards playing on for one more year.
Johnson was sorely missed in the Giants' forward line against the Bulldogs, sitting out the game through suspension for his high bump on Josh Kennedy in the qualifying final two weeks ago.
But Cameron hinted the ex-Geelong man hadn't played his last game just yet.
"We'll have that discussion. It's probably more likely than unlikely I reckon, he's obviously had a terrific year," Cameron said.
"It's disappointing he didn't play tonight but that's life. He's fit in well with our footy club, but I mean this time of year is always interesting because of the shifting and moving of players.
"We understand it happens a lot more than it used to. We'll look at our list and say are we on the right track and I feel as though we definitely are, we made a prelim final, fell short by one goal."
Johnson joined the Giants for season 2016 on a one-year playing deal with options to extend it for a further 12 months as either a player or coach.