Collingwood's Billy Frampton (Image: Collingwood FC Twitter)

Saturday's Grand Final is finally upon us, with the two best teams all year in Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions preparing to face off for the prize of premiership glory, 20 years on from when the two storied clubs met in the 2003 Grand Final.

As is often the case with Grand Finals, there are storylines everywhere.

Brisbane mentor Chris Fagan will become the first coach to have never played at the elite level to have coached a Grand Final side, and will also become the oldest Grand Final coach in AFL history.

On the other side of the coaching ledger, Collingwood's Craig McRae and Justin Leppitsch will come up against Brisbane after playing in both their 2002 and 2003 premiership sides against Collingwood.

At the selection table, Brisbane defender Jack Payne is pushing for a big dance recall and faces a nervous wait to prove his fitness on Thursday. If a Payne return isn't meant to be, it'll be Darcy Gardiner suiting up for Fagan's men again.

Meanwhile, it's heartbreak for ailing Magpies Taylor Adams and Dan McStay, who will miss this weekend after sustaining respective injuries in the previous fortnight. Utility Billy Frampton has been confirmed to come back into the side and play his first-ever final in what looms as a potential Grand Final fairytale.

It will also be the first decider for many players on Saturday. Out of the 46 who take to the hallowed turf, only 14 have previously played in a Grand Final; 10 for Collingwood, with the majority of those playing in the 2018 big dance against West Coast, and only three from Brisbane.

Funnily enough, not one of Brisbane's players with Grand Final experience has ever played in a decider in Lions colours.

The last game of the year shapes as a blockbuster of epic proportions, and these are the five players to watch out for on Saturday afternoon at the MCG.

Mason Cox

Mason Cox has had a solid finals series, at times starting in the ruck ahead of Darcy Cameron. Cox started in the ruck against Max Gawn in the qualifying final, winning the first nine hitouts and setting the tone for what to expect in his finals series.

Cox finished that game with nine disposals, six clearances, and 34 hitouts. However, his performance against GWS was arguably more impressive with nine disposals, four marks, three tackles, 27 hitouts, and what ended up being the match-winning goal.

With the injury to Dan McStay, Cox may spend more time forward than he has throughout the finals series as the Magpies look for the best way to curb the impact of his injury. Cox's game against Brisbane in Round 23 was underwhelming, clearly losing the ruck battle to Oscar McInerney with 25 hitouts compared to McInerney's 41, and collecting only five disposals, one mark, and a goal.

The ruck battle has been a crucial part of Collingwood vs. Brisbane matchups this season, with Cox and Cameron both going down earlier in the year to leave McInerney to dominate against Dan McStay in Round 4.

It looms as a crucial matchup once again on Grand Final day, and Collingwood will be hoping that they can get the better of McInerney for the first time this season.

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Charlie Cameron

Typically a finals specialist, this year's finals series has been a lot slower for Charlie Cameron. Cameron has kicked a total of three goals this finals series, compared to seven last year, and was held to just one goal against Carlton -- though he was inaccurate, kicking three behinds.

Carlton proved that he can be held to a limited impact, keeping Cameron goalless until the third term and making it the first time he has kicked only one goal for a game since Round 19. Eddie Betts put it simply on AFL 360, claiming that "for Brisbane to win this game, he has to shine."

Cameron's speed up forward could be the difference on Grand Final day, often getting the better of Collingwood's defenders, creating a headache for McRae when he looks at who goes to him.

Cameron has kicked 10 goals across two games against Collingwood this season, a four-goal haul in Round 23 at Marvel Stadium and a six-goal haul in Round 4 at the Gabba.

Jonathan Brown said the Magpies "don't have a player with the exact skill set or athletic talent of Charlie Cameron," on Fox Footy, with Cameron having beaten Isaac Quaynor, Brayden Maynard, and John Noble throughout the season.

If Cameron can get going on Saturday and overcome his slow starts, it will go a long way to getting Brisbane over the line.

Josh Dunkley

Josh Dunkley got the better of Patrick Cripps once again in the preliminary final. Dunkley had 23 disposals, five marks, five tackles, and six clearances to be one of Brisbane's best, whilst keeping Patrick Cripps to a season-low 13 disposals, four clearances, and six tackles but managing to break free from Dunkley for spurts to score two goals.

This week, Dunkley vs. Jordan De Goey, or perhaps Nick Daicos, looms as a similar matchup. Neither Daicos nor De Goey played in Round 23 so we don't have a preview of how either of these matchups play out in recent times.

However, Dunkley had another stellar performance against Collingwood in that game with 25 disposals, eight tackles, and three clearances.

Everyone has said the midfield battle in this game is huge, with stars packed on both sides, but the battle between Dunkley and his opponent looms as the biggest individual battle within the midfield.

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Billy Frampton

Billy Frampton was dubbed "the luckiest man in Australia" by Mark Robinson on AFL 360 after Craig McRae gave him the call-up to replace the injured Dan McStay. It will be Frampton's first-ever finals appearance, having not played in any of Collingwood's other finals this year and none at any of his previous clubs either.

Frampton is a like-for-like to replace McStay, with the Magpies choosing not to change the structure which has got them to the Grand Final. However, Frampton's versatility means that he can play up forward, but can also be swung back into defence if needed.

Adding to his flexibility, Frampton has also been used as the backup ruck at times this season, averaging 28 hitouts across four games where he was the dominant ruckman.

It's not the first time that Frampton has come in for McStay this season; after suffering a finger tendon injury in Gather Round, Frampton moved forward and replaced McStay as the backup ruck, challenging experienced ruckman Rowan Marshall.

With Collingwood's defence rock solid in previous weeks, it seems that Frampton will most likely play the majority of game time up forward.

Darcy Moore

There will no doubt be some added motivation for Darcy Moore to captain Collingwood to victory on Saturday afternoon after it was announced that his dad and two-time Brownlow Medallist Peter Moore will present the premiership cup if they are to win.

Moore has never appeared in a grand final for Collingwood, having missed their heartbreaking loss to West Coast in 2018 due to a hamstring injury that he failed to overcome in time. No doubt Collingwood supporters would be asking 'what if' had Moore played on that day.

It's been a quieter finals series for Moore this year, registering just 12 disposals, four marks, and eight intercept possessions.

Moore contained Joe Daniher to just two goals in Round 4, yet he still managed to have a major impact around the ball with 20 disposals and six marks. With Daniher finding strong form this finals series, having kicked seven goals, Moore looms as a likely option to shut him down.

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