Melton and Melton South will have an extra reason to win in the opening round of the Ballarat Football League season.
Encounters don’t come much bigger for either club as they vie for the upper hand in football and netball.
As well, the senior football sides will play for the Darren Stanley Shield for the first time.
Bloods president Greg Davis came up with the initiative, which was then supported by the Panthers.
Stanley played all his junior football at Melton South, before captaining and coaching the senior side.
He then moved to Melton, playing in two premierships. He won two Henderson Medals as best player in the BFL, one with each club.
Stanley will present the shield after the game.
The clubs’ reserves sides already play for the Phil Littlewood Memorial Trophy.
Bloods football manager Brad Jamison said they were looking forward to the game.
“It’s a good rivalry between the two clubs,” he said.
“It’s healthy for both clubs and it’s the biggest match of the year for supporters and crowd numbers.
“There’s a hype for this match and hopefully MacPherson Park will be full of supporters.”
The Bloods will be holding their past player day on Saturday and they’re hoping that celebration will get a few more people to the ground.
Jamison said the Bloods had put in a strong off season on the track, with more than 80 players training at some stages.
He said they hadn’t gone out and recruited a lot of players, instead bringing a number of VFL players into the team.
Brock Kennedy, Jordyn Cotter and Billy Crofts are back at the club after being with VFL club Werribee last year.
“Liam Carter, who is with Williamstown, has played a couple of practice matches and Mark Orr, who is with Coburg, has played one as well,” Jamison said. “With the development league not running, we haven’t had to go out and recruit.”
Matt Denham, who returns from Bacchus Marsh, is the other big signing.
The Bloods aren’t expecting to see former Essendon player Elliott Kavanagh on the ground though, with work commitments meaning he is unlikely to play this season.
Braedan Kight and Ben Archard will captain the side this year, voted in by the playing group.
Jamison said the two skippers complemented each other.
“Braedan has been around for a while having, been a junior at the club,” Jamison said. “He was named in the Ballarat team of the year.
“Ben played his first year with us last year and won our best and fairest. He’s been a great addition on and off the field.”
The football action will start at 9.55am and the netball at 9am.