THE MATCH-UP will be box office, if it happens at all.
Brayden Maynard against Toby Greene. It's befitting of a preliminary final stage, and certainly worthy of a crowd packed with nearly 100,000 passionate and raging fans watching on at the MCG.
But analysing whether that's the match-up Collingwood coach Craig McRae rolls with during Friday night's final against Greater Western Sydney is difficult, given it's not a battle supporters have been able to enjoy recently.
Be it due to a suspension that ruled him out of that famous preliminary final victory back in 2019, or an ankle injury he sustained earlier this season, Greene has only played Collingwood three times in the last five years.
There is, however, reason to suggest why that should be the match-up. Greene has an awesome recent record against the Pies, kicking nine goals from those last three fixtures, but only one has come when paired directly against Maynard.
Last year, McRae rolled a heap of opponents against Greene in an 11-point Collingwood victory. Champion Data notes that Nick Daicos (35 minutes), Maynard (24 minutes), Jeremy Howe (23 minutes) and John Noble (13 minutes) all spent time on him. Greene was ultimately restricted to just one goal from 19 disposals.
Perhaps, then, the best game to judge a potential Greene match-up was their 2021 fixture at the MCG. Greene earned Brownlow votes on that night, having kicked five goals from 18 disposals in a 30-point Giants win.
Although McRae wasn't coach back then, it will still give him plenty to ponder. Champion Data stats show that Greene kicked all five of his goals that night in the 58 minutes he spent paired alongside Isaac Quaynor, while he was held goalless during the 48 minutes on Maynard.
It was a similar story back in 2020, when Greene finished with three goals from 19 disposals in a two-point Giants win. But, on that night, he kicked just one goal in the 73.7 percent game time paired with Maynard. Compare that with the 10.5 percent game time he spent on Jack Crisp, where he kicked two goals in that period, and the difference is stark.
The other aspect that goes in Maynard's favour to earn the Greene matchup is the fact he hasn't had the offensive side of his game compromised, despite spending more time opposed to the Giants captain than any other Magpies player.
Maynard still had 22 disposals and nine marks against the Giants in 2022, then 18 disposals and four marks in 2021, and 23 disposals and five marks in 2020. It's clearly enough to suggest he could be the man for the occasion on Friday night.
And, if he is, the football world will certainly be licking its lips for what's in store at the MCG.
Collingwood's Toby Greene matchups since 2020
142 minutes: Brayden Maynard (one goal)
59 minutes: Isaac Quaynor (five goals)
35 minutes: Nick Daicos (nil)
29 minutes: Jeremy Howe (one goal)
19 minutes: John Noble (nil)
16 minutes: Jack Crisp (two goals)
10 minutes: Nathan Murphy (nil)
3 minutes: Darcy Moore (nil)
1 minute: Pat Lipinski (nil)