Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur believes their finals exit at the hands of the Storm was not an accurate summation of how much his team achieved this season.
The Eels were beaten 32-0 by the minor premiers at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Saturday night and have the entire off-season to try and find a way to improve on their fifth-placed finish.
While Arthur was bitterly disappointed with the Eels' meek showing against the Storm, he was quick to note that even featuring in the post-season was a vast improvement after the misery of last year's wooden spoon.
Arthur was proud of his players efforts this year and thinks there is a bright future for the western Sydney club.
"I am proud of the boys and the whole team," Arthur said.
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"Nothing has changed, we just didn’t get it right tonight.
"Our start was ordinary. The second half we bombed some opportunities, but at least we had some fight.
"That shows that the group can move forward and we have something to build on for next year."
With Melbourne clearly on a mission to make amends for their loss to Canberra last week, the Eels found themselves under siege from the outset.
Wingers Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu both had tries within the opening 10 minutes and Arthur's side never recovered.
Cameron Munster and Jahrome Hughes crossed shortly after as the Storm led 18-0 inside 20 minutes and there was no way back for the Eels.
Arthur was left to lament a poor completion rate in the first half and some timid defence that allowed the Storm some easy scoring opportunities.
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"We were passive on defence and we haven’t done that for eight weeks," he said.
"We were a bit cautious about the way we approached it.
"We did some dumb things - shoulder charges, tackling blokes in air, kicking on fourth tackle.
"There were some moments we didn’t get right and we have been really good at that over the last two months building a game and we didn’t do that tonight."
"We were passive on defence and we haven’t done that for eight weeks.
"We were a bit cautious about the way we approached it."