PROUD of the effort, disappointed with the result.
They were the two sides of the coin for Fremantle coach Ross Lyon after a missed shot at goal with one second to go from star forward Michael Walters saw the Dockers fall just short of victory against Geelong.
Although the Dockers were playing their youngest team for the season (average age 24 years and nine months) they competed hard, used the ball well and backed themselves at critical times.
That pleased Lyon, who was rapt his players took difficult options and kept coming at Geelong attempting to win the game rather than settling for a gallant loss.
"I thought we had a real dip … it was a step in the right direction," Lyon said.
He praised Connor Blakely, who was outstanding with 27 touches, for choosing to switch play early in the last quarter rather than take the safe option down the line even though Patrick Dangerfield ran down Lachie Weller to create a goal.
And he liked the run of play that saw six Dockers lay hands on the ball as they ran it down the wing to create the final goal-scoring opportunity.
However, he still felt disappointed to get beaten when one kick decided the result.
"At the end of the day [with the] last kick of the day we had an opportunity to win the game," Lyon said.
"They are the fine lines but you have got to dare to win and I thought we did today."
Despite not getting the win the Dockers were the better team for most of the game, kicking seven unanswered goals at the start of the second quarter, with Lyon putting the ascendancy down their fierce competitiveness.
"It is not a complicated game. We competed fiercely at ground level and we pressured really well and I thought our ball use [was good]. We really ran at them, used it between the lines and created good opportunities," he said.
Sean Darcy was excellent on debut in the ruck with 40 hit-outs and 14 disposals, and Josh Deluca was promising, while Darcy Tucker kicked a career-best three goals, lending good support to Walters and the returning Hayden Ballantyne, who kicked two apiece.
Lyon said Darcy's effort stood out.
"I thought he performed. He was a shining light for us, wasn't he?"
The Dockers remain just outside the final eight with six wins, having been involved in four games decided by less than a goal.