So, now the fun starts!
After 27 rounds of blood and thunder, we're down to knockout rugby league to determine which two sets of gladiators will square up at Old Trafford.
Of course it's a bit more complicated than that but I think the first weekend of fixtures will give us a very strong indication of who will go on to win that Grand Final and lift the Super League title.
With all due respect to Catalan Dragons and Hull KR, League Leaders Warrington and fourth-placed Huddersfield, it is the Wigan v Saints derby and Leeds v Hull FC eliminator that get my adrenalin pumping.
Wigan Warriors held the the Super League Grand Final trophy aloft at Old Trafford last year. Photo: Getty
With the current play-off structure, champions Wigan probably won't lose too much sleep if they lose to Saints on Sunday. After all, Leeds went to the Warriors in week one last year, turned them over 27-26 and then look what happened.
Wigan haven't hit top gear since their draining Challenge Cup success over the Rhinos at Wembley while St Helens have developed a Manchester United streak. Just as Sir Alex Ferguson has quietly unleashed a youthful team of emerging stars on his Premier League rivals, Saints have elevated their own youngsters to the big stage with great effect.
I was at the Stoop last weekend to watch Rob Purdham's emotional final game for Harlequins against Saints. Fourteen of Saints' 17 players were home-grown. Tom Armstrong scored a hat-trick, Gary Wheeler sparkled, Carl Forster looked at home on his debut. One Quins player told me after the game the Saints kids were "too fit and too fast", of which Wigan will be wary.
Now one of Saints' older hands, Jon Wilkin always tells me the side have not been scarred by their three successive Grand Final defeats to Leeds between 2007 and 2009. I don't buy that, but this new Saints breed features players who have not experienced that Old Trafford Saturday night misery. Quite simply Wigan know that if they don't return to their brilliant pre-Wembley best then they will have a real game on.
So do the reigning champions have enough left in the tank? "Without a doubt," is coach Michael Maguire's verdict. "I've been able to rotate the last few weeks to get the boys fresh and we are ready to defend our title."
And even though the coach won't admit it, I can tell you the players are definitely talking about doing a Super League and Challenge Cup double. But with Man of Steel favourite Sam Tomkins sailing the ship it would take a brave man to back against Maguire's men. As captain Sean O'Loughlin told BBC Radio Manchester's Rugby League Extra programme this week: "His accolades are well deserved. He comes up with plays no other player could."
Chatting to Saints great Paul Sculthorpe during the week as we both finalised our preparations for Sunday's Great North Run, he told me the champions will come from the top three. So that's his former club, plus Wigan and Warrington battling for the big prize.
Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos could be decent outside bets to take home the silverware this season. Photo: PA/Getty
I'm not so certain. Hull FC and Leeds are my dark horses. Only one will be standing after their eliminator at Headingley on Sunday. Having dominated the competition prior to Wigan's re-emergence, the Rhinos find themselves in an unusually precarious position. The last time Leeds had to play a week one eliminator was under the old set-up in 2006, when a third-placed finish meant a home tie with Warrington. Lee Briers broke Leeds hearts that night with two trademark drop goals to secure a one-point win - still the Wolves' only ever play-off victory.
"I remember the game well," Rhinos scrum-half Rob Burrow tells me. "It was a real shock as we were expecting a Grand Final and for our season to be ended in a few seconds like that was not something we prepared for. With one kick, the rugby stopped for us that year."
So how big a disadvantage is not having an extra life in the play-offs? And how different does it make your approach? "This time we always knew there would be no second chances," Burrow says. "We are prepared for it and have the experience to deal with it."
And does he agree with me that whoever wins this eliminator could go on and prove a real threat to the higher ranked sides? "I really do believe that. If we beat Hull we can go on and compete with anyone. For us and Hull FC, Hull KR and Catalan there is no choice. It is desperation for us lot."
Leeds certainly believe they can go all the way. The players are heading off to Vegas for Carl Ablett's stag do but won't be booking it until after the Grand Final.
As for Hull FC, they may have ended the season with defeat to Warrington, but they have been running hot. Richard Agar's side have developed a hunger and Agar believes he can sign off with success before taking over at Wakefield.
I'm not saying the Black and Whites can go all the way, but momentum can be a hugely dangerous end-of-season weapon and they scored 148 points in a run of three successive Super League wins prior to that Wolves defeat.
"They are not scared of anything," says Leeds coach Brian McDermott.
Nor can they afford to be. There is no room for fear in the Super League play-offs.