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It's a familiar image being forged at the MCG for this Saturday when the Sydney Swans and Hawthorn Hawks line up for the 2014 AFL Grand final.

The sides have shared the past two premiership titles, with the Hawks beating Fremantle last season and the Swans getting the better of this weekend's opponents by 10 points in 2012.

But there are plenty of delectable subplots to get us excited, none of them bigger than Lance 'Buddy' Franklin.

The epic goalkicker faces off against his former club for the Swans, having signed the biggest deal in AFL history to make the move up north.

A fairer match-up there couldn't have been at the season's end, with the sides to have finished one and two on the ladder meeting in the big one.

The honours were even during the regular season for this pair, with the Swans big winners in round eight at the SCG and the Hawks turning it around in round 18 at the MCG - will home ground advantage be a factor here?

The pair also met last season in the first qualifying final, with the Hawks giving the swans a 105-51 lesson they won't be forgetting any time soon.

The Swans have their first minor premiership banner for the first time since 1996 though and look imperious. They also have Franklin, though the Hawks have proven they can make do without big Buddy.

Franklin's 67 goals in the regular season to win the Coleman Medal was no small effort at a new club, neither was the Swans best record for a regular season after losing their first three of four games.

Will Buddy be able to handle the pressure with a crowd that will be largely against him save for a few pockets of red at the G.

The Swans are the favourites but only slightly, yet the Hawks have factors - home ground, crowd - stacked in their favour.

Should be a beauty! 

Image via Getty


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AFL Grand Final preview: Can Buddy handle the pressure?
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