THE Melbourne Football Club has announced that its VFL side will be renamed the ‘Casey Demons’ in a proactive step by both Clubs to strengthen the alignment between Casey and Melbourne. 

The move will also see the Casey Demons wear the traditional red and blue Melbourne playing strip.

General Manager of Football Josh Mahoney said the Club has worked hard with Casey to improve the football program and this was a natural progression.

“We see this announcement as a really positive step for both parties. We have worked really closely with Casey to improve the football program year-on-year, which is evident by the improved results, both as a collective and at the individual level,” he said.

“The team reached the VFL Grand Final for the first time in the alignment history and through our development programs, produced three AFL players via this 2016 Rookie Draft. Two of these Casey-listed players, Tim Smith and Declan Keilty, were drafted to Melbourne and a third, Oscar McInerny, was picked up as a rookie at the Brisbane Lions. This shows how strong the partnership already is and we think this move to align our brand with the Casey region will significantly strengthen the partnership both on and off the field.”

Mahoney said it was important that the name change also respected the history of Springvale, which it was known as before it became Casey Scorpions.

“Although our name will change, we will continue to respect the history of the Springvale Football Club and will ensure that this heritage is maintained moving forward. This will be done by recognition of the Springvale Football Club on the new jumper, a heritage game to recognise their past and continuing to recognise the history of the Club through our awards and honour board,” he said.

Mahoney said the closer brand alignment between the two Clubs would create new business and supporter opportunities.

“We know the business environment for VFL clubs is getting more challenging each year and this brand alignment allows Casey to leverage off the brand of the Demons and create opportunities, which may not have been presented otherwise. Overall, we think this will create greater opportunities for local businesses and sponsors to engage with both clubs.”

The Casey region will also be bolstered by Melbourne’s AFLW team playing three home games at the ground in 2017. This will include an AFL/AFLW doubleheader on Saturday, February 25 against the Carlton Football Club. This is in addition to Melbourne launching their Next Generation Academy, which creates genuine pathway opportunities for boys and girls, from 11 years of age to senior football in the region.

“Our continued relationship with the City of Casey is to deliver community engagement activities, along with Casey Fields hosting our inaugural AFLW home games and double-header,” Mahoney said.

The structure of the VFL/AFL alignment will remain intact, with proactive steps implemented to further assist the VFL team on and off the field.

“This is a change in branding, [but] the governance structure and general operations will stay the same with the addition of Melbourne Football Club resources to assist in generating revenue opportunities and business activities,” Mahoney said.

“We have been working very closely with the Casey Scorpions over the years and we are very appreciative of the Casey Scorpions board’s decision to agree to this change and we look forward to working more closely together this season.”

General Manager of Casey VFL side Matthew Young said: “The board of the Club at its last meeting ratified this decision and we as an organisation see it as a major positive for both the Casey and Melbourne football clubs. The name change will further strengthen our brand off field and bring us into line with what we have been able to achieve over the last two to three years on field.”