And just like that the 2023 AFL Grand Final is set. Minor premier Collingwood will face Brisbane for the biggest prize in football.
It's a fitting finale with the Magpies and Lions having been the two best teams throughout the year. Collingwood will enjoy it's home ground advantage but it's Brisbane who has had the edge on them in recent times, winning the last six contests between the two.
Here are the four questions that will determine who wins Saturday afternoon's Grand Final:
Will the Grand Final be a game of chaos or control?
The total contrast in the way these two sides play should make for a fascinating Grand Final. And make no mistake, this is the question that will determine who hoists the premiership cup at around 6pm on Saturday afternoon.
Collingwood will want to keep the ball in motion and play with speed and energy. The Magpies use handball chains to great effect, linking up through the midfield and letting their forwards work into space before the opposition's defence has had time to organise itself.
For Brisbane, it's more about control. The Lions have the highest kick-to-handball ratio of any side in the league, they also play on from their marks the least of any side. Instead, they play a more patient brand of football, looking to hit targets by foot, limiting the turnovers and opportunities to be punished on the rebound. As a result, they often dominate the territory battle.
Both of these contrasting playing styles were on display in the two preliminary finals.
The Magpies and Lions are also excellent ball movement teams. Both sides ranked top six this year at moving the ball from defensive 50 to forward 50 - a metric each of the last 10 premiers have ranked in the top third in. It's just a matter of how the two sides will be allowed to do this on the day.
Can Collingwood limit Brisbane's scoring power?
While the Magpies have been lauded for that fast-paced, energetic style of play, it's the defence which has been winning them games in 2023.
Collingwood finished the home and away season ranking third-best for points against, conceding just 72 per game. They're also one of only two sides (St Kilda being the other) to rank top four in both fewest points against from turnover and fewest points against from stoppage - the two main scoring sources.
However, when they have faced the Lions, these numbers just don't seem to hold up. Brisbane has averaged 112.7 points per game against Collingwood in the Craig McRae era (three games), easily the most of any side. In fact, only one other team (Geelong) has averaged over 90 points against them over the last two seasons.
In the three most recent games between the two sides, Brisbane has averaged 72 points from intercepts and 22.3 points from defensive 50 chains. Both of these are the most against the Magpies in the time.
The Lions have also kicked a goal from 31.9% of their inside 50s against the Magpies, which is the best return from any team in that time. They manage to score from 47.9% of inside 50 entries against them, the second best record in that area.
For Collingwood to win they will need to significantly reverse this trend. You'd think Brisbane will win if they reach 75 points, a number they've achieved in 19 of their 25 games this season.
Can Jordan De Goey carry his preliminary final form into the Big Dance?
Darcy Moore might be Collingwood's most important player and Nick Daicos might already be the club's best, but it's Jordan De Goey who holds the key to success on Grand Final day.
De Goey produced a masterpiece in the epic one-point preliminary final win over GWS, leading the game in disposals (34), contested possessions (17) and clearances (13). He simply couldn't be contained at the stoppages, consistently winning the ball in traffic, breaking tackles and setting up attacking thrusts. The most impressive part might have been the fact he spent the final nine minutes of the game on the bench with the Magpies unable to rotate him back onto the ground.
Since the beginning of last year, the Magpies are 18-2 when De Goey wins 23+ disposals. Their record drops to 12-7 when he has 22 or fewer. He is Collingwood's barometer and the player they need to get involved from the opening bounce on Saturday.
It will be interesting to see if Chris Fagan sends Josh Dunkley to him. The former Bulldog, who will suit up in his third Grand Final, kept Carlton captain Patrick Cripps to just 13 disposals in the second preliminary final, limiting his influence at the contest.
It has to be something the Lions entertain as the Magpies will feel they're in great shape if De Goey's Grand Final is anything close to his preliminary final performance. And there's every reason to believe it can. De Goey seized the moment the last time he was on this stage, back in 2018, kicking three goals and very nearly getting his side over the line against the Eagles.
Will the Lions have one of their famous fourth-quarter fade outs?
Brisbane fans are all too familiar with their side, at times, taking the foot off the gas a little too early.
In Round 18 against Melbourne, at the MCG, they famously blew a 24-point lead with 13 minutes to play. Even in their preliminary final win over Carlton they opened the door ajar for what would have been a disastrous late Blues comeback.
This season, the Lions rank fourth for scoring differential in first quarters (+111 points), first for quarter two (+206 points) and first for quarter three (+173). However, in final terms, they have actually been outscored by 17 points, ranking 12th overall.
We all know how dangerous the Magpies can be in any final quarter, particularly one in which they are trailing. They've enjoyed 12 three-quarter time comebacks since the beginning of last season, twice as many as the next best team. And this year, Collingwood has been the second-best final quarter side, in terms of points differential (+149).
Could yet another come-from-behind win be on the cards?