The Tackle: Can Magpies star shake it off?
The answer will only be known when Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney players break into their positions minutes before the bounce at the MCG on Saturday.
In the middle will be Scott Pendlebury, Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams.
On a wing will be Steele Sidebottom.
They'll be talking and milling and, for a moment, looking to see who Matt de Boer goes to.
They'll watch him leave the Giants huddle, watch if he heads to a wing for Sidebottom or saunters into the centre square.
Who will it be? Pendlebury, or Treloar, or Adams?
Not that any of them would immediately raise the white flag to the most effective stopper in the game, but they'll know their twilight encounter just got significantly more troublesome.
Ask Lachie Neale.
The Brisbane midfielder was kept to 17 disposals and five clearances on Saturday night.
It was the first time this season Neale didn't win 20 disposals.
"And I think he got a few of them when Matt was on the bench,'' Giants skipper Phil Davis told 3AW.
"Dutchy's become a significantly important player for us.''
In the first final he shut-out Western Bulldogs Marcus Bontempelli.
On Saturday, it was Neale.
Retired great Jordan Lewis said on Saturday it has to be Adams.
"Treloar's a good player but not as damaging as the others and the reason he gets outside ball is by Taylor Adams, being that inside player.
"I'd send him to Adams to try to cut it off at the source.''
There's no doubting Adams' influence at Collingwood, or his big-game capabilities.
In Collingwood's four finals last year he had 26 possessions and two goals, 24, 36 and 31 disposals.
In the first final against Geelong last weekend he gathered 26 touches, nine clearances and kicked two goals, and was big when the game was early stages.
"Adams goes under the radar which means he never gets sat on, which means he gets a fair bit of the ball and is quite damaging forward of centre, Lewis said.
"And because he's that player, Treloar is able to play a bit more outside.''
Lewis was at the Gabba on Saturday night to farewell Luke Hodge, but took a keen interest in the Neale-de Boer match-up.
He said Neale is a contest-to-contest player more than a aerobic animal, which made it easier for a stoppage bull like de Boer.
He was in raptures at the job Nick Robertson did on one of the game's best runners Lachie Whitfield.
"His sole focus was to run with Whitfield, and (he) did well to stay with him,'' Lewis said.
The contest-to-contest style of Neale is not unlike how Adams plays the game.
So, Lewis' prediction has merit.
There's no precedent with de Boer and Collingwood, either.
Since becoming the best tagger in the competition with an ability to win his own ball - he had six score involvements against the Lions, the third most on the ground behind Jeremy Cameron and Toby Greene - he hasn't played against Collingwood.
In last year's semi-final against the Pies he played half-forward and had Jack Crisp as his opponent.
In Round 18 against Collingwood this year he was injured.
If not Adams on Saturday, then it will be either Sidebottom or Pendlebury.
Sidebottom was Mr September last year until West Coast's Mark Hutchings clamped him in the grand final, so that's also enticing for Giants coach Leon Cameron.
"Because Sidebottom streams back hard to defence, usually as a winger, you say, if you get the ball in the defensive 50, I'll stop at the 50 and get you on the way out. I think the way to play Sidebottom is to go everywhere with him and make him defend deep,'' Lewis said.
That makes de Boer a strong option.
And that leaves Pendlebury, the maestro playmaker.
There is the theory about cutting the head off the leader, but whether de Boer is the right match-up for him is debatable because de Boer does his best work at stoppages and inside, whereas Pendlebury is an inside and outside player and extremely effective at both.
Clearly de Boer is a key player for the Giants.
He missed seven matches through Rounds 14-21 this year because of a fractured shoulder and in that time, the Giants lost four games.
Against Essendon, Zach Merrett had 28.
Against Brisbane, Neale had 31.
Against Richmond, Dustin Martin had 25 and Dion Prestia 24.
Against Hawthorn, Chad Wingard had 27.
So, to the preliminary final he goes with total confidence in his body and mindset.
And you have to wonder, when the players break for their positions on Saturday, how many Collingwood players will be thinking: I hope he doesn't come to me.
1. O'Connor and Bews
No, they are not a Geelong legal firm, they were Geelong's unheralded assassins on Friday night. Irishman Mark O'Connor has played on Jamie Cripps twice this year. He held him to seven disposals and zero score involvements in Round 6 and nine disposals, three score involvements and zero goals in the semi-final. O'Connor has conceded 12 goals from his 22 matches this year, the fewest of any permanent defender to play 20 games this year. Jed Bews played his first game this season in Round 15. The only opponent to kick more than two goals on him was Brisbane's Charlie Cameron in Round 22. On Friday night he had Liam Ryan as an opponent. Ryan had seven touches in the second quarter and only two in quarters one, three and four. Joel Selwood will get top votes in the B & F ahead of Cam Guthrie but the two defenders should be next in the pecking order.
2. Yeo v Dangerfield
Elliot Yeo's making a habit of taking on the game's best players - much to our competitive pleasure - and for 100 minutes on Friday night he ran with Patrick Dangerfield. The brilliant Cat has averaged 34 disposals over the previous four weeks prior and Yeo held him to just 18 disposals. But you can't keep a good player down for all of the game. Yeo won the first half and Dangerfield the second half. In the last quarter Dangerfield put on the Superman cape. So influential was Dangerfield, he was the second-highest rated player on the field behind teammate Tim Kelly. Colleague Jonathan Brown suggested last week Dangerfield leave his "cape'' at home and try not do everything. I'd argue Dangerfield should wear his cape 24/7.
3. The Giants have grunt
For so long it was argued the Giants were a talent-laden stoppage team, which meant everything revolved around their ability to work offensively from the middle. The week before they beat up the Bulldogs in the middle and from there everything flowed. On Saturday night this group of players showed they have the wonderful qualities which define a good team, such as resilience, attitude and work ethic. The Brisbane Lions were dominant in the contest and stoppages. They won the contested possessions by 24 and clearances by 13 and in the fourth quarter, those numbers were +12 contested possession and +7 clearances. Still, the Giants won the game.
4. The gatekeepers
It's not known how close Phil Davis and Nick Haynes were to All-Australian selection. Collingwood's forwards will have to compete strongly in the air, or at least have a plan to try to stop the intercept marking of the Giants' pair. It was the Giants' marking at the back which stemmed the Brisbane tide on Saturday night. The Giants won the intercept marking count 22-8, the defensive 50 intercept marks were 12-0 - and seven of them came in the torrid final quarter. Davis and Haynes are No. 1 and No. 3 in the league for intercept marks and finished with six and three against the Lions. This week, Collingwood's Brody Mihocek has an enormous role to play, both offensively and defensively.
1. The bookends
Josh Kennedy had flash point games for West Coast this season, but from Round 15, he kicked 0, 0, 2, 7, 1, 1, 1, 2 and 2 goals. On Friday night he managed just the one. A regular double-digit disposal winner, the 32-year-old was either injured for most of the season or is now facing his football mortality. He won more than 12 disposals once this year, he did that six times in 14 matches last season. He averaged his fewest disposals and goals since 2012. Up the other end Jeremy McGovern had one his worst games of the season - and one of his worst three-game blocks. He averaged just 5.7 intercept possessions, 1.3 intercept marks and 3.7 spoils in his last three matches. During the season he averaged 8.6 intercept possessions, 3.3 intercept marks and 5.7 spoils. A dropped mark early which led to a Tom Atkins goal and a fumble which allowed Kelly to goal - both in the first quarter - were uncustomary.
He's a second-year player with fun personality and is well liked by his teammates. But that means nothing in the scheme of things. Why he doctored his urine test is yet to be established. He now knows it was best for him to get caught with whatever was in his body than try to cheat the testing system. It was suggested on South Australia's 5AA radio on Friday that Rioli, who was tyring lose weight, had taken a diuretic, as Shane Warne said he did, from his mother.
3. What's Toby doing ?
You'd think he wouldn't go there. The brief footage of Greene's hand in the vicinity of Lachie Neale's face makes you shake your head. He was charged with unnecessary contact to the face and was handed a one-week suspension. The Giants will appeal. It's believed the Giants are seething and that it's a witch-hunt on Greene. Not by the Lions, mind you, because it's believed their medical report is hardly damning, but by the AFL. Clearly, Greene likes flirting with danger and doesn't care what anybody thinks or says about him outside the club. That said, there wouldn't be a club who would pass on Greene if he was available. I expect him to win the appeal.
4. Ruck issues at the Giants
If Shane Mumford is not cooked then he's approaching "well done''. This week he has to somehow compete against the might of Brodie Grundy. Mumford was beaten soundly at the contest by Brisbane's Stef Martin, who had 23 disposals and a game-high 11 clearances. Grundy is a better and more agile ruckman than Martin. The Cats tried Mark Blicavs in the role a week ago. Not sure the Giants have a different plan or different player available to try to do the job, so it will be up to Mumford. Whether he can curb Grundy's influence is the issue. It would be a start if Mumford could stop giving away free kicks. There was another eight on Saturday night, taking his tally to 72 from 18 matches - 24 more than any other player in the league.