MELBOURNE will clash with St Kilda in the 'Battle for the South East' after the AFL announced the two clubs would clash in the NAB Cup at Casey Fields in March.
The Demons already have strong ties to the City of Casey with their VFL affiliate Casey Scorpions playing at Casey Fields, while St Kilda's training base is at Seaford.
The traditional Melbourne clubs will clash in the third round of the pre-season competition on Saturday, March 9.
Melbourne chief executive Cameron Schwab said it was exciting to bring an official NAB Cup fixture to the City of Casey. The club has previously played a NAB Challenge match there.
"We're really pleased to be playing a NAB Cup game at Casey Fields next year. We see it as a reward for our supporters in the region and ongoing recognition of the strength of our partnership with the City of Casey, one of Australia's fastest-growing regions, and a key element in our club's growth strategy."
In 2008, the club signed a 30-year agreement with the City of Casey.
Schwab said the club was working hard to deliver community programs and business developments in the region.
"Clearly, playing more football here is a big part of our plans and a major reason why we pushed hard to have a NAB Cup fixture at Casey this year."
Previous preseason matches have attracted 10,000 people to Casey Fields, with the AFL continuing its push into areas that don't traditionally get the top level of football.
The NAB Cup will kick off on February 15 with a triple-header among Collingwood, Essendon and Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
Round 1 of the NAB Cup has been split across two weekends to ensure teams play in twilight or night conditions for the late summer period.
The AFL's Simon Lethlean said that in rounds 2 and 3 the schedule would mix matches across regional venues and major AFL venues to promote the game in areas that don't normally host AFL football.
NAB Cup matches will be taken to Townsville, Wagga Wagga, Wangaratta and Renmark, Canberra, Tasmania, Alice Springs and Northam.