MELBOURNE midfielder Jack Viney has hailed the Demons a far different and more complete unit to the team that was destroyed in an AFL preliminary final three years ago.
The Demons will return to Perth’s Optus Stadium – the scene of a belting to West Coast in 2018 – for Friday night’s date with Geelong.
Melbourne’s shot at a grand final berth was over before it began, with the Eagles banging through the first 10 goals of the match to completely overwhelm the young Demons.
Unlike that contest, the Demons will enter this preliminary final as warm favourites after clinching the minor premiership and taking care of the Brisbane Lions two weeks ago.
Geelong defeated GWS in last week’s semi-final to win through to their 12th preliminary final in 18 years.
If Melbourne goes in unchanged from the qualifying final, they will have 11 players who were not there for the 66-point thumping in 2018.
“It’s certainly a different build-up, we’re not playing a West Australian team so it doesn’t feel the same in terms of the preparation,” Viney said.
“It was such a completely different team during that period so I feel like we’re a different team right now and not drawing on that experience too much right now.
“… what I learnt in 2018, you just never know when you’ll end up in this position, so you’ve got to make the most of it and that’s what we’re working hard to do.”
Speedster Jayden Hunt will come into the selection mix after missing almost a month with an ankle injury.
“That was (Hunt’s) goal from the get-go to get himself in the position to play finals and he fully trained (on Tuesday),” Viney said.
“It’s all up to match committee now to see if he’s ready to roll.”
Melbourne will take confidence out of defeating the Cats in the final home-and-away round of the season, where they reeled in a 44-point deficit.
Former captain Nathan Jones could also come into selection contention despite not having played since round 15, when he was the unused medical sub.
(C) AAP 2021