WHETHER he's hobbled or not, stopping West Coast intercept king Jeremy McGovern will be crucial to Collingwood's chances of winning Saturday's Grand Final at the MCG.
McGovern has been limited at training this week after copping a corkie to the hip pointer when he collided with Melbourne's Christian Petracca in last weekend's preliminary final win.
McGovern has slaughtered Collingwood in two meetings this season, with the star defender best afield in round 17 where he collected 22 disposals and took 12 marks as the Eagles kept the Magpies to their second-equal lowest score of the season – 67 points.
The round 17 clash was the last time West Coast ventured to the MCG, with Adam Simpson's team holding a 2-0 record (the Eagles beat Carlton by 10 points in round five) from two games played at the venue this season.
The three-time All Australian centre-half back then had 18 touches and nine marks in the Eagles' 16-point qualifying final win over the Magpies.
Regardless of McGovern's health, Collingwood, which will have learned a lot from the qualifying final in particular, will undoubtedly have a plan for him.
While McGovern has been a central figure in both of West Coast's wins over Collingwood this season, AFL.com.au has taken a look at the other contributing factors when the teams met this season.
Round 17: West Coast 15.12 (102) d. Collingwood 9.13 (67) @The MCG
Collingwood started the game like a house on fire, racing out to a 20-point lead early in the first quarter, but ultimately their inability to convert the early dominance into scores cost the Magpies dearly. Despite losing Nic Naitanui to another season-ending knee injury, West Coast had 104 uncontested marks and outtackled their opponents 63-42. Collingwood had just 19 inside 50s after half-time, with McGovern and Shannon Hurn consistently denying Collingwood safe passage into its forward line. Mason Cox's late withdrawal because of a hamstring issue was significant from a structural point of view with Brody Mihocek – in his sixth game – unable to nullify McGovern's influence. Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Willie Rioli booted three goals between them.
Qualifying final: West Coast 12.14 (86) d. Collingwood 10.10 (70) @Optus Stadium
In what was easily the highest-quality game of the finals series so far, the Eagles booted five goals to one in the final term, as Collingwood ran out of steam late in the game away from home. West Coast amassed 33 marks in the opening quarter of the game, with McGovern pulling down seven of his own, as it skipped out to a 12-point lead. But the Pies hit back strongly, taking away West Coast's aerial dominance by putting together a six-goal to three second term and taking a three-point lead at the main break. West Coast's prime movers took over the game late, with Elliot Yeo (36 disposals) sensational and Josh Kennedy, returning from injury, delivering a pair of goals in the second half after being well held by Tyson Goldsack before half-time.