Ross Lyon has heeded outgoing AFL boss Gillon McLachlan's "sage advice" as he seeks to build St Kilda back into an AFL premiership contender.
The Saints' impressive first season in Lyon's second stint as a coach came to an end with a 24-point elimination final defeat to GWS on Saturday.
There was no fairytale finish to the campaign, but St Kilda fan McLachlan would not have designed it that way.
The league chief executive's message to Lyon, as the Saints coach tells it, was simple: "Don't try and build it in 12 months, build it over the longer term."
And it has struck a chord with the 56-year-old.
"I feel like that's been the approach, not burning anyone out and just getting there the right way," Lyon said after the 15.11 (101) to 11.11 (77) defeat to the Giants.
"We've just got to continue to do that on the back of this.
"I don't think we disgraced ourselves but we would've liked to have been our best Saints that we've been at times this year.
"We really want to just lean in and support the environment and build it out and do it the right way.
"Gillon, who's helped build the AFL to what it is, I think it's pretty good sage advice for a coach at St Kilda like me."
Lyon backed in his inexperienced players to deliver this season as injuries to senior stars opened selection doors.
He was rewarded, with Mattaes Phillipou, Anthony Caminiti, Mitch Owens, Marcus Windhager, Nasaiah Wanganeen-Milera and Cooper Sharman, among others, all showing plenty of positive signs as the Saints marched into the top-eight.
In doing so, they earned a first home final in Melbourne since the last year of Lyon's first stint in charge, back in 2011.
"We've invested a lot in the future, we get a short-term sugar-hit," Lyon said.
"I'm not too excited because as a coach I've been to higher, bigger games than this (elimination final).
"We would've liked to have performed better but it's a great audit, finals."
While bullish about the future, Lyon said there is no guarantee of further progression.
He noted reigning premiers Geelong missed the finals this season and runners-up Sydney were knocked out in week one.
"That's how brutal the competition is ... so we're going to have to keep improving," Lyon said.
"But I think we should get some natural improvement out of our first and second-year players."
Lyon said St Kilda will seek to improve their list through trade and free agency avenues over the off-season.
The Saints have already been heavily linked to Fremantle wingman Liam Henry.