Pat Lipinski and Jarryd Lyons have been confirmed as the subs for the 2023 Toyota AFL Grand Final at the MCG.
Neither Collingwood or Brisbane have made any late changes to their teams that were announced on Thursday evening, with Lipinski (Magpies) and Lyons (Lions) named subs.
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The Lions picked an unchanged 22 for the decider, opting to stick with Darcy Gardiner after defender Jack Payne fell short in his bid to overcome an ankle injury.
Collingwood has made two changes, meanwhile, elevating small forward Jack Ginnivan into the 22 in place of Lipinski and replacing injured key forward Dan McStay with versatile tall Billy Frampton.
Collingwood v Brisbane, MCG, Saturday September 30, 2.30pm AEST
NO LATE CHANGES
Collingwood: Patrick Lipinski
Brisbane: Jarryd Lyons
WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR?
A fast start helped the Lions blow open the minor premiership race, but Collingwood still ended up finishing the home and away season on top. The Magpies were without the likes of Nick Daicos, Jordan De Goey, Darcy Moore and Bobby Hill and the Lions made them pay, with Charlie Cameron kicking four goals. It was a game perhaps best remembered for Deven Robertson playing without a guernsey for a short period after it was ripped off.
The Lions were forced to come from behind in the first meeting between the sides this year, after the Pies – who were without a recognised ruckman – kicked five first-quarter goals. Cameron again did plenty of damage, booting six goals, while Cam Rayner was electric, kicking four and assisting three others to cement his spot as a forward after being used as a defender to begin 2023.
THE STATS THAT MATTER
While the Pies have lost their past six meetings against the Lions, the club's Grand Final record is also poor. Of its past 20 season deciders, Collingwood has won just four, drawing one and losing the other 15. Included in that run of heartbreak is losses to Brisbane in 2002 and 2003, plus the five-point defeat to West Coast in 2018.
The Lions must overcome their MCG hoodoo. Since Chris Fagan took over as coach at the start of 2017, Brisbane has won just one of 12 matches at the MCG and that came in last year's semi-final against Melbourne. The Lions have played at the ground just twice in 2023, upset by Hawthorn before being edged by the Demons. Going back even further, Brisbane has lost 14 of its past 15 games at the MCG.
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR…
Not only must he lead his team on the biggest stage, Darcy Moore gets his chance to shine on Grand Final day after missing the 2018 decider. The defender played just seven games in that season as hamstring injuries ruined his year and the Pies opted against risking him against West Coast as the Eagles got over the line. Now a two-time All-Australian, Moore has a big role to play against a powerful Brisbane forward line.
In his first season at the Lions, Josh Dunkley will play in his third Grand Final and shapes as a key piece of the Brisbane puzzle. The former Western Bulldogs midfielder kept Carlton captain Patrick Cripps quiet in the preliminary final and could get the job on important Pies midfielder Jordan De Goey. Dunkley is averaging 24.4 disposals, seven tackles and five clearances per game this year.
Collingwood by four points. It's fitting the two best teams of 2023 do battle on the final Saturday in September and it shapes as being a classic contest. The Pies, without McStay, will need to improve on their finals performances so far, but playing at the MCG should give them a slight edge against a dangerous Lions side.