It's finally grand final week, with the two best sides of the season now preparing to meet at the MCG to decide the 2023 AFL premiership race.
The Magpies enter the last few days of their dominant campaign with much to consider on the selection front, having lost a key piece in their attacking plans to a knee injury while a reliable veteran pushes his case for a return from a hamstring strain.
A number of fringe Collingwood names will be looking to prove their value on the training track over the coming days, with at least one forced change to come under Craig McRae.
The Lions too have much to consider but could go into the grand final with an unchanged lineup as a key defender races the clock to be fit in time for a return of his own following an ankle setback.
Here we preview the potential changes both Collingwood and Brisbane could make for the 2023 Grand Final and name the likely lineups that come with the alterations.
Collingwood vs Brisbane
Saturday, September 30
MCG, 2:30pm AEST
The Magpies will be forced into at least one change following an MCL sprain to key forward Daniel McStay, who has become the heart-break story of the week. His absence will open up an opportunity for one fortunate fringe Magpie, while midfielder Taylor Adams as also been ruled out of a return from a hamstring strain. Recruit Billy Frampton could be the man to come into the side for McStay, with the former Crow able to play as a forward target or could even move into the backline and allow Jeremy Howe to head up the other end of the field. Nathan Kreuger and Reef McInnes will be other names considered if Craig McRae wants to keep a taller forward group. If small options are favoured, Jack Ginnivan could earn a starting role if so, potentially giving John Noble the sub duties, or the recently dropped defender could come straight into the 22 and hold Ginnivan to the role he's played well in recent weeks. With Adams unable to play, Patrick Lipinski looks set to hold his spot in the side,
FB: Maynard, Murphy, Quaynor
HB: Pendlebury, Moore, Crisp
C: Hoskin-Elliott, De Goey, J. Daicos
HF: Hill, Mihocek, Lipinski
FF: Elliott, Cox, McCreery
FO: Cameron, N. Daicos, Sidebottom
I/C: Mitchell, Frampton, Markov, Howe
EMERG: Macrae, Kreuger, Noble
The Lions will wait until the 11th hour before Thursday's selection to give Jack Payne every chance to prove his fitness for selection. But even if cleared to play, a return is no guarantee given Darcy Gardiner's impressive stint in his place. The supporting backman was a standout alongside Harris Andrews in defence in what was just his third game for the season, with Chris Fagan potentially keen to not mix with the side that handled Carlton's forward threats last Saturday. That would spell some misery for Payne, who could join Jack Gunston on the list of emergencies after falling out of the side due to injury. The former Hawthorn sharpshooter was cleared to play for the preliminary final but was unable to break into Fagan's plans. Can expect Jarryd Lyons to hold onto the sub role for the season decider, with the likes of James Tunstill, Gunston, Darcy Fort, Jaxon Prior and Daniel Rich to remain on standby.
FB: Starcevich, Andrews, Gardiner
HB: McKenna, Lester, Ah Chee
C: McCluggage, Dunkley, Zorko
HF: Cameron, Hipwood, Berry
FF: Rayner, Daniher, McCarthy
FO: McInerney, Neale, Bailey
I/C: Robertson, Wilmot, Coleman, Fletcher
EMERG: Tunstill, Gunston, Fort