Fremantle defender Roger Hayden is proud of the year’s achievements, but is hungry for greater success in 2011.

The club’s season ended with a 69-point semi-final defeat at the hands of Geelong at the MCG on Friday night.

Few outside the purple faithful would have dreamed Fremantle would make it to the second week of the finals at the start of the year, but Hayden maintained his teammates would not be content with a similar showing next season.

“We were written off all year and we proved a lot of people wrong by getting this far, but [the coach] said after the game that this is the starting point. We can’t go backwards,” Hayden said.

“We’re going to have to take it to the next level in pre-season and improve on this year.

“A lot of the younger guys are going to have those games of experience under their belts and we’ve all got to improve and take that next step.

“It’s up to the young guys, the leadership group and the coaching staff – everyone – to make sure that we do improve. We can’t rest on our laurels, sit back and think that it’s going to happen. We have to make it happen.

“That’s the big question that we need to answer over pre-season and make sure that we do everything right.”

In its first game of the season at the ‘G, Fremantle was outplayed early by its finals-hardened opponent and never really challenged.

Hayden agreed it had been a lesson in finals-style football.

“They’re a quality team who have been there and done that and we just needed to go out there and be more intense,” he said.

“It was pretty difficult. The Cats are really good in their defence, they zone off really well, and counter-attack. They put us on the back foot straight away to their credit. They’re a great team and I hope they do well.

“They’re a great defensive unit and when the ball’s turned over they [hurt you].”

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