Leeds & St Helens ready to rumble - again
You could argue that it speaks volumes about the lack of the depth in the competition and offers proof of Super League's predictability.
The Rugby Football League tried to shake things up with the restructuring of the play-offs from six teams to eight but the net result has proved the same - the top two teams at the end of the regular season will contest the final.
And although there is a large part of me that would like to see some different faces at Old Trafford on Saturday, I think it is wholly fitting that the best two sides will square up once again in the season's final domestic clash.
Yet as much as things have stayed the same, plenty has changed from the previous two finals.
There is plenty of spice when Leeds meet St Helens
"I think each Grand Final is totally different," said Saints second row Jon Wilkin, who will be playing in his fourth on Saturday.
"The last two are almost impossible to compare, with different players and coaches. The only similarity is the clubs involved. The previous two results will have no bearing on Saturday."
Saints went into the 2007 and 2008 finals as favourites. On each occasion they had finished one point clear of Leeds during the regular season and beaten the Rhinos in their opening play-off match to book their place at Old Trafford.
The 'woolybacks' from Knowsley Road were also Challenge Cup holders and I thought they were the best attacking team in the competition in both years. Some of my colleagues vehemently disagree and point to the considerable attacking talents of Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Ali Lauitiiti and Brent Webb to bolster their argument.
I'm not knocking the pedigree of the champions, but I honestly believe the ability Saints had under former coach Daniel Anderson to blow a team away with a concerted burst of attacking football was unmatched.
Not that we saw much of that in the last two Grand Finals. Each time Saints were beaten by the better side on the night as Leeds exuded incredible self-belief and showed a level composure and execution that eluded their opponents.
This season Leeds have been the most consistent side and deservedly collected the League Leaders' Shield for the first time since 2004. The stand-out moment from their victory over Catalans Dragons last Friday was Danny McGuire's scintillating try after he collected Scott Donald's kick in-field.
Saints stuttered towards the end of the season, losing four of their final five games before the play-offs. They haven't scored more than 15 points in a match since they thrashed Harlequins on 25 July.
It is significant that the talking point after Saints edged out rivals Wigan was Sean Long's brilliant, desperate tackle on Joel Tomkins, dragging his opponent's leg into touch. Doughty defence, not free-flowing rugby, has taken Saints to Old Trafford.
As full-back Wellens admitted when looking forward to the final: "Defensively we have been pretty good over the last couple of weeks but we are going to have to find some points from somewhere."
Lose on Saturday and Saints end a season trophyless for the first time since 2003 but I suspect they are hardly heartbroken by their underdog status with the bookmakers. A month or so ago I wondered if they would make it this far.
At least the restructured play-offs have ensured both Saints and Leeds go into the match battle-hardened - contrast that with the last two years, when Saints had played one game in a month prior to the final - so nobody should be caught cold on Saturday regardless of the unpredictable Manchester weather.
I think it is also worth pointing out that Saints, in their fourth straight Grand Final, have both Long and Kieron Cunningham in their side. They are the players who dictate play for Saints, manoeuvre the team around the park, and both were sorely missed when they were out through injury at different points during the season.
With Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield in their ranks, Leeds themselves are hardly lacking leaders and what gives the final real spice is the rumoured ill-feeling between the teams.
There has been talk of cliques while on international duty and I heard that scant recognition was given to any awards won by the other team at the 2008 Man of Steel dinner.
Leeds' recent 18-10 win over Saints at Headingley Carnegie contained plenty of collision. Keith Senior's brouhaha with Jon Wilkin showed the rivalry between the Super League's top two always has the capacity to boil over. I spoke to Wilkin about the incident and he was adamant that he had not said anything to warrant one flush on the chin. Respect between the sides might be grudging but Wilkin did tell me the veteran centre had executed a very decent connection.
Long will be waving goodbye to Saints on Saturday after 12 years at the club
Leeds coach Brian McClennan puts it like this (and I'm not inclined to disagree): "This is the third straight time we've opposed each other in the final, so there is a real history.
"I'm sure everybody that comes along is going to enjoy the contest."
Then, of course, there is the Long factor - or the pirate as the dreadlocked one seems to be known these days. The furore that has followed the release of his colourful autobiography Booze, Brawls, Sex and Scandal has at least partially eclipsed the build-up to the final.
The 33-year-old attended a book signing hours before his team's match against Wigan while his claims that Bradford players also laid bets on Saints to lose in THAT infamous match against Bradford in 2004 have dominated the headlines.
Saturday is Long's final match for Saints after 12 years at the club and as several of his team-mates have pointed out this week, the mercurial scrum-half is a man who at times seems to write his own scripts.
After 2,320 minutes of rugby league per side, it all boils down to one atmospheric Old Trafford evening.
Saints Australian centre Matt Gidley said earlier in the week that he felt the team who plays closest to their potential will win. Leeds stand-off Danny McGuire reckons: "If you look at it from an outsider's point of view, it's a 50-50 game."
I've got a slight feeling for Saints but I won't be putting money on it?!