The Melbourne faithful are out in force as their side makes a charge deep into September. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP
The Melbourne faithful are out in force as their side makes a charge deep into September. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP

Demons coach puts pressure on Virgin for more flights west

SIMON Goodwin wants Melbourne fans to go west, saying they are like an extra player in the Demons' barnstorming AFL finals campaign.

The Melbourne coach called on the league's airline sponsor, Virgin, to put on extra flights for fans ahead of Saturday week's preliminary final against West Coast in Perth.

"It's a long way to go, Perth, it's clearly very expensive," Goodwin said.

"So the more flights on, the better for us. I would certainly encourage that - I certainly don't run an airline though."

Goodwin said his players were feeding off the energy of their fans as Melbourne reveled in their first finals series for 12 years.

They are in their first preliminary final since 2000, when they won that game but lost the grand final to Essendon.

"We're in the midst of our supporters really getting in behind our footy team and giving us great belief, inspiring us to new heights," Goodwin said.

"You can see the joy that our supporters are getting from this journey.

"They do, they inspire us - they're like another player out there.

"From what I hear, it's a 50-50 ticket split, so Virgin, put some flights on and enable our supporters to get over there."

Simon Goodwin, right, pictured with co-captain Nathan Jones, has been described as a very personable coach who is big on building relationships with his players and staff. Picture: Wayne Ludbey
Simon Goodwin, right, pictured with co-captain Nathan Jones, has been described as a very personable coach who is big on building relationships with his players and staff. Picture: Wayne Ludbey

After beating Geelong in the elimination final, Friday night's resounding win means Melbourne are full of momentum.

While West Coast at home is a tough assignment, it will hold no fears for the Demons after their big round-22 win over the Eagles at Optus Stadium.

"But it's a new game, so we know what we're up against - we're up against a really strong footy club," Goodwin said.

"They have some experienced players who are back in the team, who didn't play that day - as we have.

"It's going to be a different-looking game, but one we're really looking forward to."

Goodwin is confident that Angus Brayshaw will be ready for the preliminary final.

The midfielder was able to play out the match after he received a head knock in the last quarter and briefly left the field.

Demons co-captain Jack Viney was best afield, further justifying the club's strategy to give him an extended break late in the season as he recovered from another foot injury.

"He's been incredible, but I said this last week and I will say it again, he had a five-week preparation heading into this finals series," Goodwin said.

"We really held him back and his game (on Friday night) was outstanding."

The preliminary finals will mark a changing of the guard in the AFL.

It will be the first time since 2002 that the final four teams have not included at least one of Sydney, Geelong or Hawthorn.

- AAP

News Corp Australia

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