22/04/2024

Demons vice-captain Jack Viney is not reading too much into the Demons' last prelim performance. (Photo: AFL)

Jack Viney says the 2021 preliminary final against Geelong on Friday will have a different feeling to the 2018 prelim loss.

Melbourne Demons vice-captain Jack Viney says that there’s a different feeling heading into Friday’s preliminary final clash against Geelong than to the 2018 prelim.

Having played in Melbourne’s 66-point loss to West Coast in the preliminary final back in 2018, Viney says there’s no comparison despite both games being at Optus Stadium.

“It does feel like a different [scenario], certainly a different build up – we’re not playing a Western Australian team so it doesn’t feel the same in terms of the build up and the preparation,” Viney told media on Tuesday.

“I’m not sure what to take out of playing West Coast in 2018. [We were] such a completely different team during that period, so [I] feel like we’re a different team right now and the build up has been different, so not drawing on that experience too much right now.”

Despite the embarrassment of 2018, Viney has no issues playing at the same venue. He says Optus Stadium is one of the best AFL venues, while adding his excitement for a big Demons fan turnout.

“This is one of the best stadiums to play in no doubt about that – and when you have a crowd advantage it’s deafening and it can intimidate teams and influence games,” he said.

“I’ve got no idea what the split will be but in terms of Melbourne and Geelong supporters, but if we can have a majority Dees crowd it’s going to be such an exciting game to be involved in.”

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Melbourne will face Geelong for the third time this season. Though it was victorious on both occasions, Viney is not underestimating how strong Geelong is, outlining the importance of starting strong out of the blocks.

“Geelong [is a] very strong team who’ve been in this position so many times before,” he said.

“[They’re a] very experienced side, so this is going to be a really tough game. We’re going to have to come out firing from the get-go.

“That’s the plan, that’s what we’ve been training to do.

“We’ve had a week off to really train hard, we haven’t taken it easy, we’ve been training hard ready to hit the ground running on Friday night.”

After defeating Geelong with a kick after the siren in Round 23, coming back from a seven goal margin, Viney says the team learnt some valuable lessons from that game they’ll being taking into Friday night.

“We’ve taken some learnings from that game absolutely, we’ve played Geelong twice already this year, so we feel that we know them quite well coming into this week.

“It’s about trying to take their strengths away from them and put our game style on show, so that’s the game really.”

Viney would also note the importance of youngster Luke Jackson, with the vice-captain full of praise of what the ruck-forward has brought to the side this season.

“Jacko has had a terrific year along with [Trent] Rivers,” Viney said,

“His development as a ruck, as a forward, those positions can sometimes take a while for players to develop into the roles but Jacko had developed so rapidly under Maxy [Gawn].

“He’s turned into a really important player for us whether he’s in the ruck or up forward. [He’s a] special talent and a big part of our performance on Friday night.”

Luke Jackson is the round seven NAB AFL Rising Star nominee
Jack Viney says he’s been impressed with the development of both Luke Jackson and Trent Rivers. (Photo: AFL)

Viney was also hopeful of Jayden Hunt making a return from injury, a possibility to be an inclusion at selection for the preliminary final.

“I think he’s a serious chance, that was his goal from the get-go was to get himself in a position to plays finals,” Viney said.

“He fully trained today so now I guess it’s up to the match committee to determine whether they think he’s ready to roll.”

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