Macarthur Bulls coach Ante Milicic says the club is now a hotspot for recruiting A-League talent amid its "very active" preparation for next season, despite losing 2-1 to Melbourne City in their A-League semi-final.
Despite premiering in an A-League climate where fans are very hard to come by, Macarthur impressed on the field and are also impressing off it.
The Bulls have reportedly already signed competition stars Craig Noone - who was absent for Melbourne City with a warm-up injury - and Central Coast Mariners' Daniel De Silva for next season, amid other transfer rumours.
"We've set a platform but that has to keep evolving," Milicic said. "The players get a better understanding of how I work. I'm looking forward to seeing how that process evolves.
"We've been very active in our preparation for next season. I can say that we're a more preferred destination in the A-League now than we were 12 months ago. If anything, that's something to be pleased about."
Milicic was straight talking after the loss, refusing to give himself or his team credit for making it this far due to how hard it may be to reach this point again.
"I'm always learning, I always like a challenge," he said. "The only thing that's not sitting well with me is I thought we were close tonight.
It's so close the competition in this league. It's very hard to get to tonight. I was disappointed with the first goal we conceded. The second one just killed us, it was too much too soon.
"Yeah, we tried things but against this sort of opponent it was too much on the night. It's hard to get to these games.
"I'm hearing all these cliches: 'it's your first year', 'you've done well'. Look, maybe you're right but the group of players are very disappointed, they expect more. It's going to hurt for a while.
Milicic continued that the hardest part of building this club has been securing an individual playing style, due to the high quality players the club brought in that are used to playing their own ways.
However he did say that Macarthur now have a platform to build from.
"There's at least been a platform that's been laid," he said. "I think at times we showed what we were capable of.
"Overall through the season we did well through possession, when you look at Macarthur there's a distinct playing style which is what we wanted to introduce.
"In patches, we were decent and there's definitely something to build on. We'll have a good analysis. After the players get a bit of rest we'll look forward to starting pre-season."