In a nutshell
This season shaped as one last shot for the Roos' ageing group to win a premiership, but a fast start fizzled out to a disappointing elimination final exit after injuries took their toll.
What we said in the pre-season
North Melbourne ended up where most expected, in the bottom half of the eight and not seriously challenging for the flag. Robbie Tarrant took the step some predicted to become an A-grade defender, but a lack of midfield class and depth on the list was laid bare when important players were sidelined.
The Roos had never won a season-opener in six attempts under Brad Scott and primed themselves for a fast start. It worked like a dream until their nine-game winning streak was snapped and the bottom fell out on the run home.
Injuries, too many of them hamstrings, cruelled North's ambitions and for Sam Wright and Ben Jacobs to pull up sore coming back from lengthy stints on the sidelines hurt just before finals. Giving up a first-round pick as part of a trade for Jed Anderson isn't yet a failure, but the ex-Hawk barely had an impact in 2016.
C. We'll never know how far the Kangas could've gone with a fit and healthy list, but an elimination final belting wasn't the ending fans hoped for.
It was a mixed bag for Brad Scott. The coach deserves credit for shaking things up to get his side firing early in the year but his outburst against the umpires after a round 13 loss to Hawthorn cost the club $50,000, while Scott was deeply embarrassed and $30,000 lighter in the pocket. He's contracted until the end of 2018 and is expected to stay, despite rumours the Lions might put in a call.
There's a changing of the guard at Arden Street and the time feels right for Jack Ziebell to assume the captaincy. Andrew Swallow continues to give his all and laid the second-most tackles in the AFL this season (165), but Ziebell, 25, will be around to lead the side back up the ladder.
Robbie Tarrant. The gun defender had already answered North Melbourne's need for a big man to combat the League's monster forwards, but took his game to the next level and was unlucky to miss out on the All Australian team.
Ryan Clarke. The first-year midfielder looked right at home picking up 21 touches against West Coast on debut and was a deserving NAB AFL Rising Star nominee after gathering 27 disposals two weeks later in a win over the Pies.
Mason Wood. The 23-year-old's form was on an exciting trajectory before a knee injury in round 16 ruined his season. Wood's development in 2017 should soften the blow of Drew Petrie's exit.
Jed Anderson. The former Hawk has endured a torrid run over his short career and a serious hamstring injury in round one limited him to 10 games and just two goals in an underwhelming season.
Round one: North Melbourne 16.11 (107) def Adelaide 14.13 (97) at Etihad Stadium.
The pressure was on North to get the round one monkey off the back and things could've gone pear-shaped trailing by four goals in the third term. But the Roos rallied and notched one of only two wins against an eventual top-eight opponent.
Brad Scott's extraordinary attack on the umpires after his side's round 13 loss to Hawthorn was entirely without basis and cost a combined $80,000 in fines for the coach and club.
The big questions
Will the Roos go into free-fall next season after the forced departures of Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Nick Dal Santo and Michael Firrito?
After seven years at the helm, is Brad Scott the man to oversee the Roos' "pretty aggressive reset"?
Will Daniel Wells and Majak Daw turn their backs on interest from rival clubs and stay at Arden Street?
Long-serving Roos Brent Harvey and Drew Petrie will not be in blue and white in 2017. Picture: AFL Photos
Season in a song
Free Fallin' – Tom Petty
Shut: Time to head down the mountain for fresh supplies before another shot at the summit.
Delistings: Nick Dal Santo, Michael Firrito, Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie
Unsigned free agents: Daniel Wells (unrestricted)
How should they approach trade and draft period?
Loading up on high draft picks or recruiting top-quality players aged under 23 from rival clubs should be the focus. The Roos need to add A-grade talent across the park.
Early call for 2017
It's hard to see anything but a tumble down the ladder after three seasons playing finals. It's time to find out if the kids can play.