THE last coach to steer Dennington to a premiership will watch with pride as his three sons attempt to etch their names into club history.
Geoff Lewis, 56, will be among thousands of fans at Reid Oval on Saturday as Dennington takes on Panmure in the Warrnambool and District league grand final.
Lewis was an influential playing coach when Dennington upstaged Old Collegians 14.10 (94) to 6.8 (44) to win the 1988 premiership.
His son Darcy, 30, is at the helm of the club 25 years on while Sam, 31, will have a key role setting the tone in the midfield.
A third son, Jesse, 19, is part of the reserves side which will take on Kolora-Noorat as the club chases an historic double.
Lewis said he was proud of his boys’ achievements in football and conceded he would be as nervous as any of the players come Saturday. “It’s the same as any father, I suppose, you are proud,” he said.
“It’s a bit more nerve-wracking when your son is coaching. I’m a bit more on edge this year than any other year.”
Lewis said watching Darcy, Sam and Jesse become Dennington premiership players “would be the biggest thrill of my life”.
“Then people could forget about me,” he joked.
The parallels between the Dennington sides of 1988 and 2013 have been impossible to ignore.
The 1988 side finished the home-and-away season in fifth spot but stunned Merrivale, Russells Creek and South Rovers to surge into the grand final.
A fast start allowed them to rush past Old Collegians in the decider, with injured full-forward Murray Turner booting seven goals. Rover John Craven and defenders Henry Van Andel, Francis Moloney and Paul Johnstone were among the stars of the season.
“We had a team effort. We didn’t have any passengers and that makes the difference,” Lewis said.
The 2013 side has followed a similar path, finishing fourth and beating Allansford, Merrivale and Kolora-Noorat en route to the grand final.
It has relied on a high-pressure game plan and an even spread of contributors to repeatedly cause upsets.
Full-forward Chris Keilar has 14 goals in three matches while Kyall Timms and Brandon Everard have been among the standouts.
Lewis said the modern-day Dogs had to believe they could beat reigning premier Panmure on Saturday.
“I can’t see why winning four games in a row in August is different to winning four games in a row in June or July,” he said.
“You’ve got to win four hard games at the pointy end of the season. This is where the big boys come out to play, this is what you train for all year.”
He admired what the side been able to achieve so far.
“I thought we could win one or two finals. I didn’t think we’d get over Panmure or Kolora-Noorat,” he said.
“I thought they were 10-goal better sides than the rest of the competition, to tell you the truth.
“They (Dennington players) have run through a brick wall for Darcy, they just love him.
“He’s inspirational the way he plays and they’ve been outstanding with their pressure and following his instructions."