Brisbane Lions senior coach Chris Fagan has expressed his empathy to injured Collingwood forward Daniel McStay, who will miss next Saturday's Grand Final between the Magpies and his former club, Brisbane.

Collingwood progressed to this year's decider on Friday night in an enthralling cliff-hanger against GWS, ultimately downing the visiting side by a solitary point to set up a 2002-03 big dance rematch with the Lions, who overran Carlton at the Gabba on Saturday.

McStay, though, will be watching from the sidelines next weekend after scans on Saturday ruled out him; revealing a high-grade MCL strain suffered against the Giants.

Fagan, who coached McStay until the end of last season when he departed for Olympic Park, spoke during his Saturday evening post-game press conference about the heartache his former key forward is experiencing.

"It's your worst nightmare as a player when you've played with the team all year," Fagan began on Saturday.

"You've been a solid contributor, you get to a Grand Final and you can't play because you're injured, that's the worst thing. So, our thoughts go out to him, obviously, because our rise as a team over the last seven years he played a really important role in.

"So [it's] always sad for players when that happens but particularly for him because he's a bloke we all like and admire."

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Daniel McStay of the Lions celebrates a goal during the round one AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the West Coast Eagles at The Gabba on March 23, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Addressing Brisbane's finals journey after multiple years of being knocked out prior to Grand Final weekend, Fagan's relief was evident as he commended his playing group.

"They're hard things to get to (Grand Finals), as we know, and it was looking a little bit dicey at quarter-time, but after that, we found our legs and played some great finals footy and showed a lot of character," Fagan said.

"We have worked really hard at learning from all those occasions where we haven't played in the manner that we wanted to in some of the big games, and it's been building up."

"We were better last year in finals, [and] in the end we just got knocked out by a champion team, but we learned a lot from it, we learned a lot from Geelong, playing against them in finals, playing against them in preliminary finals.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Deven Robertson of the Lions in action during the 2022 AFL First Preliminary Final match between the Geelong Cats and the Brisbane Lions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 16, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"We've never really shied away from our lessons internally. I know I stick up for my blokes like a madman sometimes, but internally, we've always dealt with our issues and our weaknesses, because that's how you get better at them."

After being beaten out of the gate by Carlton on Saturday, Fagan detailed Brisbane's comeback recipe as they eventually toppled the inspired Blues.

"That performance tonight, all of those things that we've been talking about and working on came together because we weren't in a good spot at quarter-time," Fagan continued.

"I thought it just turned slightly just before quarter-time. We started to look a bit better and then once we got a bit more control over the ball and took a lot more uncontested marks after quarter-time. We got our pressure up, it was just a different game.

"We had three forward-half turnovers in the first quarter and ended up with 29, so it was [particularly] in those middle two quarters we got that bit of our game right."

Ahead of next Saturday's monumental clash, Fagan and the Brisbane selection committee could have a massive decision to make regarding sidelined key defender Jack Payne, who missed the preliminary final win through an ankle ailment.

"We'll give him maximum time (to get right), and then we've got to make a decision," Fagan declared.

"He's still a chance [to play], he's getting better. He's got a bit more improving to do, he's doing everything he can to get himself right, so I'm really proud that he's gone about it in that way, [and] hopefully we've got the problem at the end of the week of trying to work out what the team is."