Demons dream of AFLW breakthrough

Always an AFLW bridesmaid never the bride, Melbourne hope they have found the missing ingredients to finally deliver an elusive premiership.

The Demons have consistently lived in the upper echelons of the AFLW ladder without claiming its top honour, including suffering grand-final defeat to Adelaide last season.

Star midfielder Karen Paxman, who has played in all seven seasons alongside the likes of skipper Daisy Pearce, admitted Melbourne hadn't deserved the flag in previous campaigns.

"We've got a core group of five or six of us that have been there from the beginning and this is our seventh season now and we have been so close," Paxman told reporters ahead of Saturday's preliminary final against North Melbourne at Ikon Park.

"Certainly for Dais and for the other girls that have been there that long, to finish the season with the cup in our hands would be awesome.

"But we're a little bit way off a grand final. This week (the preliminary final), that's all we're focusing on at the moment really.

"We know we've got a team that can beat anyone but each game provides different challenges and we have to show up and play our best footy to do that.

"We have been close but we obviously haven't got there, we haven't deserved it in previous seasons, and it's something we really have to earn."

Paxman played down talk it would be Pearce's last season while she has no plans of hanging up the boots any time soon.

Maintaining a mindset centred on fulfilment and enjoyment has been Melbourne's focus and Paxman hoped it could prove the missing piece.

"We've been doing a lot of mindset work over the last few seasons and I feel like that's coming to fruition now, certainly," she said.

"It's (a premiership) a massive part of what we play for but I think what we've identified in our group season is fulfilment. Playing to be fulfilled.

"Certainly part of it is the premiership cup, but we want to go out there every weekend and have fun together as well because we know when we're having fun, enjoying it, we play our best footy."

Standing in their way are the Kangaroos, whom Melbourne edged by two points in round two.

"Reflecting on probably our own game earlier on in the season, fundamentally we were a little bit off," Paxman said.

"But North are always a strong competitor.

"It's going to be hot. It's finals footy. So that's what we're expecting around the contest."