North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has praised his team's season but says it was bitterly disappointing to go out with a 96-point loss at the hands of West Coast on Sunday afternoon.
The Kangaroos turned around their season with six straight wins from Rounds 16 to 21 and won seven of their last eight to finish eighth and face the Eagles in Sunday's elimination final.
But they were no match for the rampant hosts and Scott said he expects the club to learn a lot from the result.
"The great thing about finals is that it lays you bare. There's nowhere to hide," he said.
"You get opened up and some players and some clubs rise above that and they shine and other players get exposed.
"Our challenge is to not paper over any cracks and the cracks that got exposed today, we've got to delve into and fix them and keep improving and turning over our list and find guys that are competitive enough to stand up in big games like this one in a hostile environment against quality opposition."
Sunday's match was the first taste of finals football for 13 of North Melbourne's 22.
When asked what the club needs to take the next step, Scott hinted he did not expect to be overly active at the trade table.
"Our improvement, our growth will come organically," Scott said.
"We'll continue to invest in our own players and continue to invest in the draft.
"Ben Cunnington stood up in a big final today under real heat and it's just really pleasing to watch a player who has had some criticism in the past play the way he did.
"I think we've just got to continue to improve our players. If the others improve to the level that someone like Ben Cunnington has we'll be a pretty good side."
West Coast will now travel to Melbourne to face Collingwood on Saturday night in the first semi final.
Scott would not give away how far he thought the Eagles could go in September, but said he rated them 'as good a chance as anyone'.
"They've shown that over a two-year period," he said.
"I was on Perth radio during the week just saying I think John Worsfold has done a terrific job with this group of players.
"I remember coming here three years ago and every Perth reporter wanted to tell me how bad a coach he was and what a basket case the Eagles were.
"I hope they're eating their words and I hope they've apologised to him because he's done a terrific job with them and the Eagles' management have done a terrific job building their list."