The race to become Super rugby's 15th team is down to two bidders after governing body SANZAR confirmed Melbourne and South Africa's Southern Kings had taken the next step in the process.
SANZAR says it's received just two expressions of interest for the place in an Australian conference from 2011.
The Australian Rugby Union chose Melbourne ahead of Gold Coast, western Sydney and Sunshine Coast for Australia's bid last week after receiving three separate submissions from the southern capital.
South Africa believes it's feasible for a sixth team from the Republic to play in a conference with Australia's existing four teams.
New Zealand withdrew its bid for Taranaki to become the 15th team on Monday.
A final decision is due in October.