North Melbourne slumped to an eighth consecutive AFL defeat but Rhyce Shaw was happy with an improved showing against West Coast in their last-round fixture.
The match brought out the competitive spirit the coach desperately wants to see from his playing group going forward.
The Kangaroos held finals-bound West Coast scoreless in the opening term on Thursday night and dominated general play for large periods.
But ultimately poor kicking at goal cost them the opportunity to end a losing streak that now stands at eight matches in a season that has yielded just three wins.
“We’ve been smashed from pillar to post for a while now but we’ve worked hard and tonight the boys were really consistent over four quarters,” Shaw said post-match.
“It showed in how the game was played…but West Coast took their chances and that’s where it sat, we just didn’t take our opportunities.
“The game was played in the right manner by us and I was really pleased with the way it went.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the result, but the way it was played and the effort by the boys was fantastic.”
The 15-point defeat was just the second time during the Kangaroos’ active losing streak they have kept the margin under five goals.
Scores were level at three-quarter time.
But despite the improved showing against West Coast, North Melbourne will finish 17th on the ladder – or even slide to last place if Adelaide upsets Richmond on Saturday.
Shaw now faces tough exit interviews with players as the Kangaroos look to overhaul their list.
The club’s first batch of delistings will be confirmed and released officially by the weekend.
“That’s a part of footy,” Shaw said.
“We went through that last year and this year is a little bit different being away (in Queensland).
“It’s just part of the evolution of the club and where it’s going and where it needs to go.
“It’s going to be a hard time for a lot of people, but it’s also going to be an exciting time for the club going forward.”
North Melbourne players and staff have two days to leave their Gold Coast hub after completing their season on Thursday night.