MELBOURNE has an unlikely connection to the Perth-based ground of Optus Stadium.

In 2021, the Demons played three games at Optus including a Preliminary Final and a Grand Final, the latter seeing the club break a long-standing premiership drought.

So, it’s fair to say there’s a level of excitement to the team’s return to Western Australian this weekend.

“We get to go back to what feels like our second ground,” Greg Stafford told Melbourne Media.  

“We have a lot of fond memories there and we’re so comfortable with the environment over there, which I would hope in the future would take away some of the WA advantage that they get by playing there.

“Having got the result we did get [last year], it makes it an even more special place for us.”

The Demons are currently on an eight-game winning streak for the 2022 AFL season and will head into Round 9 following an impressive 38-point win over top-eight side St Kilda. 

03:39 Mins
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Match Preview | RD 9 | Greg Stafford

Forwards Coach Greg Stafford talks about our return to Perth.

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“It was terrific opposition at the perfect time for us," Stafford said. 

"There were some things that we were trying to work on in our game and we knew against a high-quality team in St Kilda, it was going to test those things.

"So, it was a great moment in the season to come up against a really good team in a specific area of contest.

"We were pretty happy with the way it looked, but having said that, looking at that third quarter, there are a lot of learnings we can take from it.

"[We] always look to try and refine, get better and strive to be the best we can be."

Melbourne will head to Perth to face West Coast on Sunday afternoon and despite a distinct ladder advantage, Stafford said the Demons were preparing for a high-level brand of football. 

“We know they’ve got a core of high-quality players and they’re a strong and proud club," Stafford said. 

"We’d like to think that if we had members out of our side, that we could still put out a brand of footy that we’re proud of and we look at that club as one that can do the same.

"We have enormous respect for what the opposition bring, regardless of personnel, we prepare for their best and we make sure we bring what is appropriate for that."