NORTH Ballarat Roosters will continue to strive for excellence.
Impromptu post-match speeches from Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald, chairman John McClure and North Melbourne development manager Josh Drummond reiterated all aspects of the club would keep supporting each other to return to the Victorian Football League's best.
Each wanted players and supporters to know the Selkirk Roosters can be back among the competition benchmarks.
They will use the off-season to re-group and re-plot how to tackle season 2014.
Essendon was loaded with about a dozen AFL-listed players, complemented with solid VFL footballers like Ben Dusher and Matthew Bate, and proved a level about the Roosters at Windy Hill on Saturday.
The 39-point loss cost the Roosters an elimination final against Werribee next weekend.
In his post-match address, FitzGerald told players the club had never walked away from challenges it had confronted and would continue to evolve.
"That's the level we have got to get to but it will take player retention and good player replenishment next year," FitzGerald told The Courier.
"We know that Myles Sewell will be going overseas next year - he's not just one of our best, but one of the best players in the competition - we need to keep others and add to it."
FitzGerald said it was frightening to learn reigning premier Geelong had dished Bendigo a 201-point thrashing on Friday night - a frightening margin in any level of the game - with the Cats a class above the competition.
But, he said, people would have said the same about the Roosters in the premiership years (2008-10).
The competition will add more unaligned AFL clubs, like Essendon, in the competition next year with more full-time footballers lining up in the VFL.
The Roosters, working with AFL partner North Melbourne, must find new strategies to take them on effectively.
"(This season) is a reminder that state league level sport is very, very challenging and we see it in basketball, netball and other sports like soccer and hockey in Ballarat," FitzGerald said.
"Once you're up against the best in the state, it is really challenging, but we must be focused on what we're trying to achieve at the Roosters and that's to be a VFL city and perform at the highest level."