IN THIS week's Nine Things We Learned, we discover that the task ahead of North Melbourne's new coach is clear, Melbourne's big forward is primed to fire and no one should underestimate the Tigers. 

Check out these lessons and more after an unforgettable round 23. 

05:34 Mins
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The 10: Round 23's best moments

Watch the standout moments from the final round of the home and away season.

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1. Clarko has a Roo-print of what needs to be done

A tired and undermanned North Melbourne were blown out of the water on Saturday by a Gold Coast team intent on setting standards for next season. Following his final match in charge, interim coach Leigh Adams wasn't beating around the bush about the areas of improvement for the Roos under new coach Alastair Clarkson next season. First on Adams' list was fundamental ball skills, with North seriously struggling to deliver the ball cleanly inside 50 against the Suns. Coping with the transition of play and covering ground both ways as well as dealing with the opposition moving the ball quickly into attack were also on Adams' mind. It sounds simple, but it won't be a quick fix, even for a master coach like Clarkson – Sarah Black

BARRETT The inside story of how North brought Clarko home

06:42 Mins
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Highlights: North Melbourne v Gold Coast

The Kangaroos and Suns clash in round 23

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2. Either of the Daicos brothers could win the Copeland

Just in case we needed another reminder that it's not all about Nick Daicos, the other Daicos produced another performance that showed why he is one of the premier wingmen in the game in 2022. The 23-year-old fell out of favour under Nathan Buckley, but has become a star this season and is one of the leading contenders for the Copeland Trophy. Josh Daicos amassed 28 disposals, seven score involvements, seven tackles and 640 metres gained to help sink the old enemy, Carlton in front of more than 88,000 people on the last day of the season. it has been one hell of a season for the Daicos brothers. - Josh Gabelich

00:00 Mins
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Last two mins: Pies break Blues' hearts in thriller

Enjoy the incredible final moments between the Magpies and Blues at the MCG

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3. Big Ben is ripe for a Big September

With Melbourne back in form as it looks to defend its premiership in September, full-forward Ben Brown might be coming right just in the nick of time. After a recent knee injury had stymied a steady season, Brown was magnificent in the crushing win over Brisbane on Friday night. With Tom McDonald still sidelined and Sam Weideman overlooked, it was up to Brown and Max Gawn to hold down the key posts for much of the night. Brown took six marks and kicked three goals – all in the first half – to play a pivotal role in the victory. With the Demons' medium and small forwards all in dazzling form, similar contributions from Brown over the next month could go a long to making it back-to-back for Melbourne. – Michael Whiting

Ben Brown celebrates a goal during Melbourne's win over Brisbane at the Gabba in round 23, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

4. Richmond is the under-the-radar in-form flag contender 

The Tigers' comfortable thrashing of Essendon on Saturday night not only extended their run to an incredible 13 straight wins over the Bombers, it also extended their lead-in to this year's finals series to 11 wins from their past 16 games, which also included a draw against Fremantle. Their four defeats in that period have come at a total of 15 points, with their six-point defeat to Sydney in round 11 their biggest loss since round six. The Tigers are humming and will take some beating in the finals this year, with the club still hopeful of regaining Dustin Martin in two weeks' time for their elimination final. Can he be the finals hero for a fourth time? - Callum Twomey

02:19 Mins
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Lynch lands another big bag ahead of finals

Tom Lynch produces an impressive five-goal haul to further excite the Tigers faithful heading into finals

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5. Max King is made of stern stuff

That was an old-fashioned statement game from Max King. After his wayward kicking dominated the headlines in the aftermath of their tough loss to Brisbane, King responded in the best way possible, putting together one of his best performances of the season to date. Although his side was unable to wrangle a 12th win of the season, the Saints key forward was an ever-present threat inside the forward half against Sydney, particularly in the first half. Although that's something he has been able to do weekly, King was able to make the most of it on the scoreboard, booting 5.0 to reverse his scoreline of round 22. Now, it just remains to be seen if he can carry this form into 2023 and build on his 52-goal season. - Nick D'Urbano

00:52 Mins
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King capitalises on superb Sinclair assist and kicks his third

Max King puts through his third goal of the half after a perfect pass from Jack Sinclair

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6. The Showdown marked a changing of the guard 

Ken Hinkley was reluctant to call Connor Rozee the next Robbie Gray, but he did say the young star could shoulder some of the load the five-time Showdown medallist now leaves. With that in mind, Rozee's first Showdown Medal in Gray's last game had a symbolic feel to it. Rozee capped the best season of his short career with a magnificent midfield performance, finishing with 34 possessions and a career-best 11 inside 50s against Adelaide on Saturday night. He lifted in the third quarter as the Power made their move and added a final-quarter goal. The 22-year-old's midfield shift has been a win for the Power in a disappointing season and it should pay dividends in 2023. Gray's extensive football resume includes three club champion awards and four All-Australian blazers. While the blazer may be a stretch for Rozee this year, he is favoured to win his first John Cahill Medal and now looks a player who will be All-Australian at some stage. – Nathan Schmook  

01:36 Mins
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Rozee rises to power with impressive outing

Connor Rozee leads Port Adelaide to a win in the final game of the season

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7. Freo's 'anywhere, anytime' mantra is back

The perennial challenge for interstate clubs is winning on the road, particularly in September with the Grand Final returning to the MCG in 2022. But Fremantle need not hold those fears with Saturday's win over GWS meaning it has claimed seven wins and one draw from 10 away games this season. There was a maturity about the Giants win too, having trailed by 31 points after a sluggish start when it previously may have folded. Having missed the top four, the Dockers will need to win on the road twice to reach the decider but their list of away wins this season includes Geelong at GMHBA Stadium and Melbourne at the MCG which offers reason to believe. - Ben Somerford

06:56 Mins
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Highlights: GWS v Fremantle

The Giants and Dockers clash in round 23

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8. Geelong has an embarrassment of riches

If the ladder and recent form is anything to go by, the Cats head into the finals as the team to beat. They've won 13 games on the bounce and the only one team (Richmond in round 15) was able to run them to a single-digit margin during that winning streak. What is frightening for the other seven finals contenders is the fact Geelong is absolutely stacked with talent. The Cats won by 85 points on Saturday and were missing Jeremy Cameron, Rhys Stanley, Mitch Duncan and Sam Menegola. All bar Stanley is a walk-up start in the Cats' best 22 and all four are expected to be fit for the team's first final, as is Cam Guthrie, who sat out most of the game against the Eagles after copping a knock to a shoulder. Jonathon Ceglar, a late inclusion on Saturday, played like he was Brad Ottens, while Esava Ratugolea has looked good in defence in recent weeks, both at VFL and now AFL level. The selection squeeze will be well and truly on at the Cattery, which is a great position to be in. - Trent Masenhelder

07:11 Mins
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Highlights: Geelong v West Coast

The Cats and Eagles clash in round 23

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9. Don't forget Sicily in the battle of the intercept kings

In a week where Giants defender Sam Taylor produced another brilliant display of intercept marking, Hawthorn's James Sicily sent a reminder of his class with a strong performance of his own. The 27-year-old plucked a staggering 17 marks against the Bulldogs on Sunday to take his tally for the season to 190, the most in the competition, and his 188 intercepts for the year is second only to Taylor's 208. It sets up an intriguing selection battle between that pair and the likes of Steven May, Tom Barrass and Tom Stewart for the Therabody AFL All-Australian side, which will be announced this week. - Martin Smith