Leon Cameron has refused to blame the unavailability of Jesse Hogan and Toby Greene for the GIANTS' loss to Geelong in a semi-final on Friday night.
Hogan was a late withdrawal when he didn't recover from a calf injury sustained in the elimination final in time to play, while Greene was suspended for making contact with an umpire in the same match.
That left the GIANTS' forward line already missing Jeremy Finlayson and Brent Daniels short of its usual firepower and they couldn’t hit the scoreboard enough despite having the same number of inside 50s as the Cats with 49 each.
"Having [Hogan] down there as a big, key target no doubt would've brought another threat to Geelong's defence," coach Cameron said.
"But you can't sit back and say 'What if we had player A, B and C'. We've been dealing with injuries all year and we had to deal with it again tonight.
"It is frustrating at times. You want a healthy list out there as much as you can.
"But that's one thing I love about our footy club, that we crash and bash and we put our bodies on the line."
The GIANTS started the final term trailing by 32 points and threw the magnets around to send gun defender Nick Haynes forward to try to find a marking solution.
But Cameron bristled at the suggestion that Greene's absence had cost the team.
"I think you're a bit harsh in saying that," he said.
"We had a number of players out, it's not just one player that cost the team."
The GIANTS' troubled run with injuries throughout much of this season has meant plenty of opportunities for younger players and they had 10 players make their finals debut in the past fortnight.
They currently have two picks in the first round of this year’s NAB AFL Draft after doing a deal last year for Collingwood’s first selection which has landed at pick No.2.
Cameron at this stage expects the club to take those picks rather than trying to bring in experienced options from other clubs.
"That experience that a lot of those players have had, especially in the back-end of this year when we were playing a lot of cut-throat games where we had to win, puts an understanding in players’ minds that if you want to compete at the pointy end you have to turn up more than not," Cameron said.
"I'm really bullish about going to the draft again. The future holds us in really good stead with some of these kids that are coming through."
Veteran ruckman Shane Mumford is set to retire after a career that started with Geelong in 2008, included four seasons and the 2012 premiership with Sydney, and ended with 116 of his total 216 matches played at the GIANTS
The 35-year-old has been crucial to the GIANTS' success this season and they only lost four of the 14 matches he played.
Mumford battled hard against the Cats and had a game-high nine clearances but was particularly emotional after the final siren.
"For a player that was probably only going to play four or five games and just coach the young fellas in the ruck this year it turned out he played a bit more than we first thought," Cameron said.
"Even his second half was just unbelievably built on courage and our players see that and they love having him out there. But he's 35, he's banged up, he can hardly move."