North Melbourne's VFL season has come to an end following a 101-point, Wildcard Round loss to the Demons at Casey Fields on Sunday afternoon
It was going to be tough afternoon from the outset for the Kangaroos, with Casey boasting premiership players at both VFL and AFL level.
The Demons' experience proved too much for a young Roos outfit and the home side put its foot down after quarter-time to register a big win.
"It was disappointing in terms of the scoreboard, but if we solely look at that we're going to miss some of the things that we've really improved on," VFL coach Tom Lynch told NMFC Media.
"We feel like the connection between the group (has grown) and that one-club feel has certainly been felt at VFL level.
"The way we played today, we never stopped trying.
"In terms of how the game was played - and all credit has to go to Casey, they were outstanding - we had a number of kids get a taste of playing finals footy which was quite significant and invaluable for them."
DEMONS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats
North Melbourne was electric early with Phoenix Spicer causing issues at half-forward and Tyler Sellers looking ominous coming out of the goal-square.
A tearing run from Spicer with ball in hand allowed Sellers to receive in a patch of space, turn, and goal for the opener.
Minutes later it was Spicer again cleverly navigating Casey's defence to find Jason McCormick who sent it Sellers' way so the key forward could mark and bag his second.
The sides went goal-for-goal in an exciting opening 20 minutes but a major to Mitch White and two to Tom McDonald saw the Demons skip out to an 18-point lead at the first change, despite the Roos' defensive efforts.
It was all Casey from then onwards who asserted itself in a convincing manner, making the most of its inside 50s while restricting any sort of run North Melbourne looked to generate when attempting to exit its backline.
A Jack Ellwood major off the back of a dropped Josh Schache mark gave his side some reprieve but following that it was nine straight goals Casey's way.
Jamie Hope chipped in a set shot to end the Demons' match-breaking run in the fourth quarter, but the damage had been done with the final score reading 20.14 (134) to 5.3 (33).
Brodie Grundy was difficult to contain around the ground, collecting 33 disposals and 10 clearances as well as kicking three goals, but Lynch says the experience will be one that budding rucks Cooper Keogh and Jacob Edwards can take plenty of knowledge from.
"What an experience it was for them to be able to go up against the quality of someone like Brodie Grundy, he's one of the best ruckman in the competition and through circumstances we played against him today," Lynch said.
"Those guys (Keogh and Edwards) never gave up, they tried their guts out.
"(When) you look at the stats sheet at the end of the day Grundy's had a pretty good afternoon and had a significant influence on the game but those guys were also really important for us in terms of their contest work and their predictability for our midfield group.
"They'll take a number of learnings out of today which will hold them in good stead."
Ben Davis was one of North Melbourne's best for the afternoon, finishing with 29 disposals, 13 marks, and seven rebound 50s, while Jack Watkins led the way in midfield with 23 touches and seven clearances.
Despite not hitting the scoreboard, forward Sam Lowson was impressive on the hunt laying a team-high nine tackles.
AFL-listed small forward Blake Drury was a late withdrawal due to illness and was replaced in the selected side by Jason McCormick, while Dan Howe was also removed from the side after being the tactical sub in Hobart and was replaced by Josh Hamilton.
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CASEY DEMONS 6.1 10.6 14.9 20.14 (134)
NORTH MELBOURNE 3.1 4.2 4.2 5.3 (33)
Casey: McDonald 5, Moniz-Wakefield 4, Grundy 3, Jordon 2, Harmes 2, White, Spargo, Neocleous, Munro
North Melbourne: Sellers 3, Ellwood, Hope
North Melbourne: Davis, Watkins, Sellers, Lowson, O'Sullivan, Butler
North Melbourne: Drury (illness - replaced in side by Jason McCormick)