Veteran Leigh Montagna says St Kilda are heeding hard AFL lessons from being so close, yet so far.
The Saints have been pipped by premiership fancies Hawthorn (three points) and North (seven) in recent weeks.
Montagna says initially, the "aftermath is it's really disappointing.
"You have come so close against these top teams," he told Fox Footy's AFL Tonight on Thursday.
"But I think the bigger picture is it's really positive for the club that we know our best football can compete with these top teams.
"So our challenge is to try and reproduce that as often as possible and continue to play the way that we are.
"And if we do that then the guys have now got belief that we can play against the top teams."
Montagna said while such belief was vital, it was a painful lesson for the Saints, who travel to Perth to play West Coast on Sunday.
"We are still just at that stage where we are really learning in these losses," he said.
"As long as we take the learnings out of it, and next time we're in the situation we're a little bit better.
"While they are excruciating and tough to handle, it has been a great learning curve for the young group."