Australia's top-performing rugby province have home ground advantage and form on the board heading into the decider, yet they must block out their seeming inability to master the Crusaders when the chips are down.
The Crusaders, four-time winners of the southern hemisphere provincial series, have knocked over the Brumbies in five of their last six meetings and are the only team to have a positive win-loss record (3-2) at Canberra Stadium.
The relevant statistic, though, is that the Crusaders have finished on top in their two Super 12 finals in 2000 and 2002 and in last year's final regular round when the ACT needed a home win to guarantee a home semi-final.
The Brumbies have been the best outfit this campaign: eight wins and three defeats and have totted up a 139-point differential to finish six points clear of the second-placed Crusaders, who lost four times and racked up a points difference of 42.
ACT have the best attack in Super 12, structured, innovative and which has netted them eight bonus points for scoring four of more tries in their wins, compared to the more conservative Crusaders' six bonus points.
But the Crusaders are a tremendously difficult team to break down, such is their forward strength and technical ability in the rucks and mauls, allied to a clever tactical kicking game. The backs are well-orchestrated by All Black scrumhalf Justin Marshall, who was inspirational in the semi-final win over South Africa's Western Stormers.
David Nucifora, who will finish up as Brumbies' coach after the final as a result of player power, is talking down the Crusaders' psychological hold over his team. "We don't put any significance on it," Nucifora said.
"It's all about what happens out there on Saturday night, it's all that counts so we're happy to be at home playing them and can't wait for it to start."
"(In) 2002 we played them twice over there and they won both games, last year it was a pretty tight game here last round and they snuck home here when both teams had a heck of a lot of injuries.
"But they're different teams and really irrelevant to this year. We've been a consistent team all year, we've played well and I think we've certainly continued to improve since we played them last."
"We know it's going to be a tough game, there's no doubt about that, but we know we've got the team that can do it."
The Brumbies are without their skipper Stirling Mortlock, who injured knee ligaments in the 32-17 semi-final win over the Waikato Chiefs and the confrontational Wallaby flanker Owen Finegan will lead the side in the final.
Crusaders coach Robbie Deans welcomes any plans by the Brumbies to target centre Aaron Mauger.
Nucifora has pin-pointed Mauger's defence as a weakness, saying he "had a few problems in making decisions" in their semi-final.
Stormers strong-man De Wet Barry left Mauger grasping as he stormed past him to post a first half try.
Deans questioned whether Nucifora's comments were a smoke-screen to divert attention away from their real targets. "It's good of them to signal their plans to us," Deans said.
"It's that time of year, they could be playing games and it could be a total decoy.
"The Brumbies will look to probe every channel, they won't be predictable so we're expecting everything really."
All Blacks lock Chris Jack returns from injury to bolster the Crusaders to replace Ross Filipo, who goes to the bench to join goalkicking fly-half Andrew Mehrtens.
Deans said the return of Jack, who missed the semi-final, added some vital experience for the Crusaders' pack.
AFP - 2004.