Melbourne Storm today announced it will host the New Zealand Warriors at Kardinia Park next year on Friday, 22 February as part of its build up to the 2019 NRL season.
With the support of the Victorian Government, the world's best rugby league talent will come to Geelong and the Bellarine region as Storm stars get set to take on their Trans-Tasman rivals.
It will be the first-time elite rugby league will feature in Geelong since 2013 - when Melbourne hosted Canberra at Kardinia Park.
Storm CEO Dave Donaghy was joined by the Victorian Government Minister for Major Events, Tourism and Sport, John Eren, and Kardinia Park Trust CEO, Michael Brown, in Geelong to announce details of the match.
Storm and the Warriors have a storied rivalry, with their annual ANZAC Day clash at AAMI Park a must-see blockbuster on the Melbourne sporting calendar. Now their electrifying talents will be on display down the highway.
Today's announcement gives Victorian rugby league fans two doses of elite rugby league in just seven days.
On February 15 the Australian Indigenous All Stars will take on the All-Star New Zealand Maori team at AAMI Park in a revamped and exciting All-Star showpiece that will launch the 2019 NRL season right here in Melbourne.
In the build-up to the game on February 22 Melbourne Storm will work closely with NRL Victoria and Touch Football Victoria to give as many people as possible in Geelong and the Bellarine the chance to see the NRL showpiece in their own backyard.
CEO Dave Donaghy expressed the Club's excitement to take the Melbourne Storm brand of football to the region:
"We're very excited about bringing this match to Kardinia Park and giving fans in Geelong and the Bellarine the chance to see elite NRL players in their home town.
"We welcome the ongoing support of the Victorian Andrew's Government, which help us to give more Victorians the chance to support 'their' team in the NRL."
The sentiment was echoed by the Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Sport John Eren:
"This is a massive coup for Geelong, that will bring droves of visitors to the region, boosting businesses and supporting local jobs.
"We are proud to be supporting NRL in Victoria, with more games, better facilities, and new playing fields, helping to support the next generation of rugby league players to thrive."
Melbourne Storm will release ticketing and general information for the match in Geelong in the coming weeks as well as finalising its remaining pre-season schedule.