BEN Kenna steps down as Kolora-Noorat coach with a sense of satisfaction and confidence the club is well positioned for future success.
Kenna called time on his six seasons in charge after the Power upstaged minor premier Panmure by 55 points at Panmure Recreation Reserve on Saturday.
The three-time premiership coach announced his decision prematch, with the players sending their mentor out in style with a season-best display.
Paul McSween kicked seven goals as the Power won 15.13 (103) to 7.6 (48), leaving renewed question marks hanging over the Bulldogs’ flag credentials.
“There is a bit of satisfaction there,” Kenna said, reflecting on one of the most remarkable coaching tenures in country football.
“Even today, going out on that note gives you a final bit of satisfaction. You can say that’s a good way to finish.”
Kenna took over from Daniel Beard after the 2008 season, which finished with Kolora-Noorat losing a grand final for the ages to Timboon Demons.
He steered the side to premierships the next three seasons, against Timboon Demons in 2009, Dennington in 2010 and Old Collegians in 2011.
Grand final defeat to Panmure marred a solid 2012 campaign, while an unbeaten regular season preceded a straight-sets finals exist in 2013.
Off-season departures meant replicating those feats was always going to be tough this season, although two top-five scalps are among its 10 wins.
“I suppose when I first got appointed they were coming off a grand final defeat. The club was fairly hungry for success,” Kenna said.
“In a way everyone was pretty driven in those early days to get the ultimate goal.
“It added a bit of pressure to the role.”
Kenna said the 2009 flag — the Power’s first since entering the Warrnambool and District league in 2003 — was the major highlight for the club during his time.
But he said every success was memorable in its own way. None of the flags came easy, while Dennington was favourite in the 2010 decider.
“The second one, we dropped the first final, had to win the next three after coming from second or third,” he said.
“That was a pretty good effort against a Dennington team on paper that was supposed to get the job done.”
Victory over Panmure on Saturday was win number 100 from 121 matches in the past six seasons, a strike rate of 82.64 per cent.
Kenna, whose Power games tally sits on 99, said he was unsure if he would play on.
“I’ve got to get my head around not coaching. It feels a bit weird but there’s a bit of relief knowing the journey is done,” he said.
He was confident the side was in good shape for his replacement.
“Now there are some juniors coming through and some senior guys have stepped up and played all year. That bodes well for the future,” he said.
Kolora-Noorat set up its win against Panmure with a 6.3 to 0.0 opening term, stunning the Bulldogs in front of their own fans.
The Power led by 20 at the long break and 39 at three-quarter-time before icing the contest with four goals to one in the final term. McSween was the dominant force. The big man injured an ankle in round one and missed eight matches but has been exceptional since returning in June.
Luke Kenna was the other multiple goalkicker with two, while Stephen O’Connor and best-and-fairest favourite Joe Kenna were also influential.
But the story was starkly different for Panmure, which limps into finals with two defeats from three matches after going unbeaten for 15 rounds.
Jason Mifsud kicked two goals, while Tim Condon, Brady Purcell and Daniel Roache were its best.