Canberra vice-captain Tom Highmore has the belief his side can bounce straight back in 2020, despite an inconsistent season.
“It’s been frustrating but we have a really good, young list of players whereby we have been able to stockpile games into boys over the last few years which will no doubt hold us in good stead for season 2020 and years to come," Highmore told canberrademons.com.au.
"The foundations are set, and if we can keep the core of the list together, success is definitely on the horizon."
Canberra haven’t been able to follow up on their 2018 efforts, but the 21-year-old doesn’t believe that’s due to a lack of effort.
"We probably exceeded expectations last season and didn’t quite live up to them this year, but we know if we turn even one or two of the close losses this year around, we could have done some serious damage in September."
"I think luck definitely plays a role as we were pretty fortunate with injuries last year, but haven’t been able to have the same fortune with key players going down throughout the year in key moments."
Although Canberra have managed just seven wins to Round 20, Highmore has seen enough behind closed doors to predict an immediate response next year.
"I am certain our list is in better shape currently than it has ever been," he said.
"The hurt experienced by the guys in the close losses is evident, and the hunger will drive the boys right throughout the summer and stick with us throughout next year."
"Our attention is already turning to next year to see how we can alleviate finding ourselves in a similar situation, whether that’s personnel, strategy or tactics we will consider and analyse it closely."
"Aside from three to four poor performances across the season, we have looked likely in every game, and if we rid the lapses and brain fades then will be a contender next year no doubt."
Highmore was handed the captaincy in the absence of injured captain Aaron Bruce for Canberra's 45-point win against Aspley at Manuka Oval on Saturday, a role in which he described as a privilege.
"To be honest, it was one of mixed emotions."
"Obviously really unfortunate for Aaron who went down with a horrific injury, but it allowed myself and the other leaders to be able to attempt to fill the void."
"To be named captain was no doubt a privilege, but I am definitely not one of the young players around the club anymore and view it as my prerogative to take ownership of the direction of the club regardless of the captaincy."
"I was really fortunate to be named captain against Aspley, but I think it is the blokes in my games bracket of approximately 50 games who are responsible for setting the standards and continue the pursuit of our maiden flag."
By Jacob Gaynor/Canberra Demons Media