Derek McGrath believes that Waterford will only get better following their victory over Cork in the weekend's Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final.
"In terms of who got the most from the league, Waterford undoubtedly did," McGrath told the RTÉ GAA podcast.
"There's still freshness to come back into the team in terms of Jamie Barron, 70 minutes into Calum Lyons, 70 minutes into Conor Prunty.
"With all of the discussions of 'How will it stand to you? How will it serve you, the league?' The reality is that I think we're actually going to get better.
"People say, 'Oh, they're getting giddy down in Waterford'. I'm a realist there. People talk about marquee players around the country, Cian Lynch, Kyle Hayes. I think we have seven or eight marquee players.
"I was at a wedding on Saturday, and I texted a few of the boys after. I've had little or no contact with them over the years because you try to give fellas space.
"Every text that came back was 'Step One complete’. That was their thought process. It’s very exciting."
McGrath feels that winning the league will psychologically be a "fillip" for Liam Cahill's team. He also scoffed at the notion Waterford are just contenders to win this year's All-Ireland. The Deise haven't won the championship since 1959.
"If you look at Conor Prunty’s speech, and David Clifford’s speech, both were caveated by... there’s a next step, a bigger step here," said McGrath, who managed Waterford for five years.
"There's huge athleticism. We have the paciest team - with Cork - from eight to 15. Carthach Daly is the fastest player in Waterford. He's still U20.
"I hear this talk of 'We're contenders'. I got a load of texts last night from up the country, 'You're definitely contenders'. We're the team to beat. We are the team to beat now, simple as. I don't care who's waiting in the long grass.
"Someone said to me yesterday, 'Tipp are waiting in the long grass, they have their eyes on ye'. They can all wait in the long grass because whoever beats Waterford will be going up the steps."