The pain of last September's BFNL grand final loss to Eaglehawk is driving the Strathfieldsaye Storm to greater heights this pre-season.
The Storm suffered an eight-goal loss to the Borough in the 2018 decider and the group is hungry for redemption.
Storm star Lachlan Sharp said the club's pre-season training has been as impressive as any in his time at Tannery Lane.
"The boys have really put in the hard yards and this is probably as fit as we've ever been,'' Sharp said.
"There's a lot of young players that have been up the front in the fitness side of things and that's helped drive the older players as well.
"Jake Moorhead has taken a big step up and he's set the benchmark to where we want to be.
"When you lose one (a grand final) it makes you hungrier when it comes around again and, as a group, I think we've taken a big step forward.
"Whether it be reserves players or even the under-18 players that have been training with us since early November, the buy-in from the group from the start has been great."
Moorhead and Hunter Lawrence have benefited from pre-season training at VFL level, after an interrupted pre-season last year key forward Hugh Robertson looks fitter and stronger following a heavy off-season workload and athletic utility Harry Conway looks set for a big season after spending 2018 on Richmond's VFL list.
An added bonus for Storm could be the availability of premiership star Matt Smith.
Smith, who is on Collingwood's VFL list, is coming off a shoulder operation and might see extended time with the Storm early in the season.
After his 2018 season was ruined by a broken leg, Sharp hasn't missed a beat this pre-season.
The classy forward is no stranger to rehab having undergone a knee reconstruction in 2016.
"(What I've learned is) you can't take playing for granted,'' Sharp said.
"If I can get out and run around again I will. You just never know what's around the corner.
"As a group that's what's helping drive us - we don't want to take a minute for granted."
The last time Strathfieldsaye lost a grand final was to Golden Square in 2013.
The Storm bounced back to win the next two premierships.
"That old saying that you need to lose one to appreciate winning one probably hit home (this pre-season),'' Sharp said.
"The hurt of losing a grand final always drives you to work harder, but this time around we had players starting pre-season as soon as we finished last year because of the feeling of an embarrassing grand final loss.
"The guys have put in the hard yards and Coatesy (coach Troy Coates) has driven it from the time we finished last year. It's been an exciting pre-season for us and we feel rejuvenated."
Strathfieldsaye starts its 2019 campaign against Eaglehawk at Tannery Lane on April 13.
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