The hurdles are huge. The reward is even bigger. But Sydney and Collingwood aren't thinking of either of those things ahead of Friday night's AFL preliminary final.
If the Swans are to triumph in front of what could be a record crowd at ANZ Stadium, the achievement will be as much mental as physical.
The Swans' 11-game losing streak against the Magpies, stretching back more than six years, is impossible to ignore.
As much as Sydney have tried to play down its significance this week, Collingwood have tipped the record could give them a confidence edge if the game is as tight as expected.
But the Magpies have their own obstacles, both psychological and physical.
They will meet the Swans just 32 hours after the funeral of former teammate John McCarthy and just six days after their bruising semi-final win over West Coast.
Swans coach John Longmire denies those factors will make his club's path to the grand final any easier.
But he says their record against the Magpies won't make it any harder either and has not been specifically addressed with the players.
"There's no rocket science to it, there's no magic formula," Longmire told reporters on Thursday.
"We know the biggest challenge ahead of us tomorrow is the ability to play four quarters of hard pressure contested footy and it doesn't get much more complicated than that.
"It's just about hard work. Sometimes you go looking for different things and you try to do different things that may or may not work.
"I know what does work and that's working hard for four quarters."
In particular, Longmire wants his midfielders to lift their defensive work compared to the clubs' most recent meeting, at ANZ Stadium in round 20.
Collingwood midfield star Dane Swan did not play in that match and Dale Thomas was subbed out early, but Dayne Beams and Scott Pendlebury racked up touches, with Beams also kicking three goals.
"We got a few things right but we didn't get that part of the game right, we need to be better at that tomorrow," Longmire said.
But asked to nominate the Magpies' most potent midfield weapon, he picked former Swans premiership ruckman Darren Jolly.
"It starts with Jolly. If you're talking about a potent weapon, he's an important player to their set-up," Longmire said.
With Jolly doing most of the Magpies' ruckwork, while the Swans boast two specialists in Shane Mumford and Mike Pyke, it shapes as an area Sydney could exploit.
But Longmire was at pains to point out he viewed it as more a threat.
"He's in career-best form, Darren Jolly," the Swans coach said.
"He's one of the premier big men in the competition and has been for almost a decade."