Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar will use Ballarat as part of their preparations for the upcoming A-League season.
The Courier can confirm the two clubs have agreed to a friendly, which will be played under lights at Morshead Park on Friday, September 1.
Roar football director and former Socceroo Craig Moore said Ballarat soccer fans would not be disappointed with the talent on display.
“We know that this is something that previously didn't go to plan and our commitment and Melbourne Victory's commitment is to make sure this is a top level friendly featuring our full squads for Ballarat to enjoy,” Moore said.
Brisbane has confirmed that A-League stars Matt McKay and Brett Holman will be joined in Ballarat by the club’s four off-season signings - Ben Khalfallah, Corey Gameiro, Mitch Oxborrow and Massimo Maccaronne, who is a graduate of the Barcelona Youth Academy that produced Lionel Messi.
“Brisbane Roar is extremely happy for the opportunity to play a very important game in our pre-season calendar against Melbourne Victory in Ballarat,” Moore said.
“The FFA Cup plays a tricky role in pre-season, but this is one game we were able to lock away and we are really looking forward to coming to Ballarat as part of our preparation for the upcoming A-League season.
“As much as Brisbane Roar is making its mark in Queensland, we also want our brand to be known across Australia, so it's a great opportunity for our football club.”
Victory will have their own stars on show, with A-League leading goal scorer Besart Berisha, Victory games record holder Leigh Broxham and Ballarat’s own Stefan Nigro among those expected to play in the friendly.
Melbourne Victory football operations manager Paul Trimboli said the game in Ballarat would be “a valuable part of our preparation for the A-League season.”
Ballarat City will host the game, with the club’s football director Andrew Burgess delighted by the announcement.
“Having two of football’s biggest teams going head to head in Ballarat will be a special event for this region,” Burgess said.
“Both are proud clubs and boast some of the most talented footballers in Australia.”
The practice match is scheduled to kick-off from 7.30pm on the main pitch at Morshead Park.