North Melbourne finished in 10th spot with a 10-12 win-loss record after beating the Magpies 19.11 (125) to 17.12 (114) in front of a crowd of 50,958 at the MCG.
Sixth-placed Collingwood will start preparing for next Saturday night's elimination final against Port Adelaide with fitness doubts over Quinten Lynch (ankle) and defender Nathan Brown (knee).
On a disappointing day for the Magpies, Travis Cloke kicked five goals to finish the home-and-away season on 66, two shy of Hawthorn's Jarryd Roughead, who claims the Coleman Medal on 68.
Ben Reid kicked a career-best five goals for the Magpies while midfielder Scott Pendlebury with two goals and 33 disposals was also a key contributor.
Jack Ziebell, with 27 disposals including 19 kicks and four goals, was North's best player while Ryan Bastinac, Brent Harvey and big forward Drew Petrie were also dominant in a game that was largely free of the usual defensive pressures as the Magpies kept one eye on next week's finals campaign.
Worryingly for Collingwood, Brown was subbed off in the second term and Lynch trod on Petrie's foot and limped off during the third quarter.
Lynch however returned to the ruck in the final term.
The match began with little defensive pressure and a lot of space for the forwards as North kicked eight goals to Collingwood's five in the first term.
Cloke booted three of the Magpies' five goals in the second term as they moved three points clear after North could only manage two goals for the quarter.
Harvey had 12 disposals in the third term to lead North's fightback as they produced a five-goal effort to Collingwood's four goals, putting North four points ahead at the final change.
North kicked another four majors in the final term to Collingwood's three to hold on for a consolation win.
Carlton's one-point win against Port Adelaide on Saturday confirmed the Blues' place in the finals, shutting the door on North's finals hopes.
NORTH MELBOURNE 8.1 10.5 15.9 19.11 (125)
COLLINGWOOD 5.4 10.8 14.11 17.12 (114)
Goals: North Melbourne - Ziebell 4; Thomas 3; Black, Petrie, Wells, Goldstein 2; Cunnington, Harvey, MacMillan, Bastinac. Collingwood - Reid, Cloke 5; Thomas, Pendlebury 2; Didak, Seedsman, Dwyer.
Best: North Melbourne - Ziebell, Harvey, Bastinac, Petrie, Atley, Wells, Black. Collingwood - Pendlebury, Didak, Reid, Cloke, Swan, Thomas, Seedsman.
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Shane Stewart, Jacob Mollison.
Official Crowd: 50,958 at MCG.