DENNINGTON hopes Ben Parkinson will be the man to take the club from Warrnambool and District league grand finalist to premier.
Dogs officials yesterday unveiled Parkinson, 36, as senior football coach for season 2014.
He takes over from playing coach Darcy Lewis, who stepped down from the helm after three seasons.
Parkinson played the bulk of his senior career at Warrnambool, where he won two Hampden league premierships in 2001 and 2002. He joined Dennington in 2009 as an assistant coach before taking the top job in 2010, a season which finished with grand final defeat to Kolora-Noorat.
A three-season stint as a non-playing assistant coach at Koroit followed before the itch to coach again grew, culminating with his return to the Dogs.
“I learnt a fair bit out at Koroit working alongside Chris McLaren and Adam Dowie, both really good mentors,” he said.
“It was just the opportunity to be the coach again. When we got beaten in 2010 there was a little bit of unfinished business.
“It’s the opportunity to go back and see if we can go a little bit further than what they have in the past few years.”
Parkinson said planning was one of the biggest skills he learnt from Dowie last season.
“I can’t see myself doing as much planning as Adam, he’s super thorough,” he said.
“But compared to what I was doing when I (last) coached Dennington, he’s shown me a whole new side to preparing a team.
“Working under him as a non-playing assistant and watching him go about it, I’ll take a fair bit out of that.”
Dennington was fourth after the 2013 regular season but stunned observers by beating Allansford, Merrivale and Kolora-Noorat en route to the grand final.
But, battle-weary and against a Panmure side refreshed from a week off, it was unable to break a 25-year flag drought.
Parkinson said conversations with the Dogs’ committee and Lewis suggested the list was in good shape.
He said Lewis had done “a terrific job” in maintaining the core from 2010 and adding emerging players like Brandon Edwards.
“There’s definitely improvement to be had,” he said.
“It’s hard to finish fifth and play all those finals and get through (to the grand final).
“We want to set ourselves up a little bit better so we’re not fighting as much.”
Parkinson is a cousin of Allansford coach Josh Parkinson, who will coach the Cats for a second season in 2014.