The long list of contenders for the AFL premiership will be gently rubbing their hands together after watching Collingwood and Geelong bang heads in a low-standard grand final rematch.
In a battle played in front of 75,650 fans at the MCG, Collingwood limped over the line with Brownlow medallist Dane Swan straining a hamstring and All-Australian defender Ben Reid again suffering a thigh injury.
While the entertainment value was there, both sides played well below the level on display in last year's premiership decider, with turnovers and spurned shots at goal the theme of the night.
Rather than a contest that showcased the prowess of the two best teams from last season - who together lost just five matches in 2011 - we witnessed a standard more befitting a struggle between mid-range teams.
There were fumbles and bad decision-making aplenty, even from elite players like Heath Shaw and Joel Selwood.
Josh Hunt had a night he'd rather forget.
In the first quarter, going back with the flight of the ball, Hunt dropped a simple mark with only Dane Swan anywhere near him, leading several commentators to suggest he ducked his head.
And with scores level and less than two minutes remaining, Collingwood's Alex Fasolo marked on the wing and was handed a 50-metre penalty after being tackled by Hunt as he shaped to play on.
The Pies were less jittery during the first three quarters and established a 24-point lead early in the last quarter.
But with Swan and Reid sidelined, Buckley's men became nervous and lost the run that had allowed them to lead at every change.
The Cats flicked the switch and finally showed why they have been the AFL's powerhouse side over the past five years.
But for all their bravery they wasted chances, kicking 5.12 for the second half, including 4.6 in the last quarter when they had 23 inside 50s to Collingwood's 10.
The Cats' grand final hero Tom Hawkins was among the offenders, finishing the night with 2.4.
Is it a sign that they have lost their killer punch? Would Essendon, West Coast or Carlton have delivered the knock-out blow?
This season is shaping as the most open race for the flag in decades. West Coast, Essendon, Adelaide, Carlton and Hawthorn should all be considered genuine contenders.
But the challengers to the Cats and Magpies have their flaws too.
The Crows have not won in Victoria in 15 games, the Eagles have an endless injury list, the Bombers have a history of fading late in the season, the Blues have a whiff of softness and the Hawks are nothing without Franklin and Rioli.
Geelong's brave final-quarter comeback showed all the hallmarks of a champion team and proves they still have some fight left in them during 2012.
Their challenge now is finding a way to win when it matters because with a 4-4 win-loss record, they cannot afford further close losses in their bid for a top-four finish.