MELBOURNE speedster Jayden Hunt is closing in on a preliminary final return against Geelong on Friday night.

The defender underwent ankle surgery a month ago after suffering an injury against West Coast in round 21.

"I think [Hunt is] a serious chance. It was his goal from the get-go, to get himself in a position to play finals," teammate Jack Viney said.

"He fully trained today (Tuesday), so I guess it's now up to the match committee to determine if they think he's ready to roll."

Viney is no stranger to preliminary finals at Optus Stadium, having played in the Demons' disastrous showing against West Coast in 2018, where the visitors failed to kick a major until the third quarter and went down by 11 goals.

Jack Viney and Charlie Spargo leave the field after Melbourne's 2018 loss to West Coast in the preliminary final. Picture: AFL Photos

But this is a different Melbourne side, having qualified for finals weeks in advance and showing a new level of maturity throughout the year.

They're not travelling on momentum; rather, on belief.

"It certainly feels like a different build-up. We're not playing a West Australian team, so it doesn't feel the same in terms of the preparation and the build-up," Viney said.

"I'm not sure what to take out of playing West Coast here in 2018. I think we're a different team right now and the build-up has been different, so not drawing on that experience too much right now.

"It does feel like a lifetime ago, I do feel like this group is in a much different position. I feel like the build-up is different.

"You very rarely get these opportunities in football, that's what I learnt in 2018, you just never know when you'll be in this position, and that's why you have to make the most of it. That's what we've been working hard on doing in our time in Perth."

Jack Viney (right) celebrates a goal with Kozzy Pickett and Charlie Spargo against Brisbane in the 2021 qualifying final. Picture: AFL Photos

It's a world away from the situation Viney found himself in this time last year.

A restricted free agent, the former co-captain had been linked to (coincidentally) Geelong but decided to sign a five-year deal despite the club's disappointing ninth-place finish.

"I love the football club, never wanted to leave," Viney said.

"I've always been super confident in the direction of the football club, and understood it was never going to be continual growth from the start.

"I feel like this year's been a terrific year because we've done it consistently throughout the career. There haven't been poor patches or stringing together six games to just get over the line, we've been able to play well as a team."