North Melbourne coach Brad Scott's only lament after his team's promising AFL season ended with a 23-point win over St Kilda was that Ben Brown couldn't snatch the Coleman Medal.
Largely dismissed as a contender before the season, the Kangaroos finished just outside the eight with a 12-10 record following a 17.15 (117) to 14.10 (94) win on Sunday.
With both sides out of finals contention, Brown's bid to overtake Richmond's Jack Riewoldt in the race to claim the AFL's goalkicking award was the main point of interest at Etihad Stadium.
Needing seven goals to draw level, Brown kicked three in the first half but couldn't manage another to finish with a total of 61, four short of Riewoldt, who claimed his third Coleman Medal.
That minor disappointment aside, Scott was delighted with the inroads the Roos have made in an encouraging campaign.
"At the start of the year you'd say that you're going to play finals with that sort of record," Scott said.
"You can look back at all the 'what-ifs' but what we've got to do is build a better, deeper midfield.
"Most of that, to be honest, will come from organic growth."
North were 10th and the Saints 16th heading into the final round of the home-and-away season, with those ladder positions reflected in a poor crowd of 19,866 fans at the St Kilda home game.
The Roos improved to ninth with the result but Alan Richardson's side remained in 16th spot and finish a season where finals were hoped for, if not expected, with just four wins, a draw and 17 losses.
At least the Saints didn't turn their toes up when North threatened to run away with the contest.
Scott's men appeared comfortable enough up by 22 points at quarter-time then 35 at the main break.
St Kilda looked wobbly when the margin blew out to a game-high 42 points early in the third term but a four-goal rally made it a 23-point game at the last change.
"It was a bit like our year," Richardson said.
"There were some parts of our game that were good, there some parts that were disappointing.
We just couldn't defend them early but we were able to regroup and respond, which was certainly better."
Trent Dumont was outstanding for the Roos, with a career-high 38 possessions and a goal.
Ben Cunnington (29 disposals) and Shaun Higgins (29) were also influential.
Retiring forward Jarrad Waite signed off with three goals in his 244th and final match, and the former Blue was mobbed by his teammates after he hit the post with a set shot following the final siren.
Jack Steven (34 and two) and Steele (35 possessions and two goals) led the way for the Saints.