PANMURE skipper Louis Kew is no stranger to finals football.
The 21-year-old was the junior substitute as the Bulldogs fell just short of premiership glory against Merrivale in 2014.
Now, the first-year captain is determined to make a mark as Panmure prepares to tackle its first final since that ill-fated decider.
Kew's Bulldogs - who have completed a stunning turnaround after finishing rock bottom last season - are gearing up for an elimination final showdown against Old Collegians on Sunday.
The way the group has jelled together is unbelievable.Louis Kew
"The buzz is definitely there and everyone is really keen to get stuck in," Kew told The Standard.
"The way the group has jelled together is unbelievable.
"I don't think anyone thought we'd be in the finals conversation after finishing bottom last season but the boys have put in the hard yards.
"It's a credit to them and I'm really proud."
Kew, who moved back to the kennel in 2018 after two seasons with Hampden league outfit North Warrnambool Eagles, said several speedy youngsters had lifted Panmure out of the doldrums.
"We've always been a pretty contested side but I'd say getting more pace and young lads involved has been one of the main factors in our improvement," he said.
"Everyone has worked well together and we haven't relied on five or six blokes - it's been a team effort."
He predicted a midfield battle against Old Collegians, who are determined to snap a 27-year premiership drought under first-year coach Nick Sheehan.
"Nothing really changes for us - we'll play our style of football and hopefully that gets us over the line," Kew said.
"We know what Collegians bring to the table. It's going to be a hot contest.
"We're not going to get too over the top - it's another game and we know what we need to do.
"We need to execute that now."
Bulldogs coach Chris Bant said his side started to dream of playing finals "five or six" weeks ago.
He was proud of the Bulldogs' rise from cellar dwellers to finalists.
"It was always just about improvement when we came in," Bant said.
"We sort of knew we'd improve but we didn't know how much.
"Finals wasn't spoken about initially but five or six weeks ago we looked at the fixture and knew the situation and that we had to keep winning to get where we wanted to be."
Panmure's elimination final against Old Collegians is set for the Allansford Recreation Reserve on Sunday.