Fremantle coach Ross Lyon admits he's in uncharted territory after the Dockers slumped to their 12th loss of a desperately disappointing AFL campaign.
Hopes of continuing a late-season rally after three wins in the past four games evaporated in the Darwin heat on Saturday night as Lyon's side was outclassed by Melbourne in the first half before adding some respectability late in a 32-point defeat.
"I think I'm as enthusiastic but as frustrated as I've been because some of this stuff I probably haven't experienced before," Lyon said.
"But I'm working through that."
In 10 seasons as an AFL coach, at St Kilda then the Dockers, Lyon has never overseen more than 11 losses in a campaign.
But while he might be in unfamiliar territory, the veteran coach still believes he has a clear vision of the way out of the wilderness for Freo, whose players he expects to remain highly motivated.
"They don't give you success and then say 'Get motivated and work hard'," he said.
"You've got to start without any guarantees, you've got to do the work, you've got to take the emotional risks to work and train hard and start on the journey of improvement.
"That's how it's done ... no one walks a (premiership) cup in and says 'Here's a cup, now get your enthusiasm levels high, become a dedicated group and learn and harden up' ... it doesn't work like that.
"You've got to do everything first and success follows."
Skipper David Mundy didn't finish the game due to concussion, but Lyon is hopeful he'll be available when the Dockers host Geelong at Subiaco next Friday night.