David Bakes played with and against some of the greats of Bendigo cricket in the 1980s and 1990s.
He watched Barry Findlay carve bowling attacks apart with a sublime mix of skill and power.
After being on the wrong end early on of Wayne Walsh's competitiveness and batting skill, Bakes had the opportunity to play alongside the little champ in premiership teams with Golden Square.
During the same period he watched with great respect as Max Taylor pounded centuries and led teams to premierships with brilliant captaincy.
Now in his role as Strathdale-Maristians coach, Bakes has watched Ben DeAraugo develop into one of the BDCA's greats.
While DeAraugo himself would be quick to pour cold water on any comparison to the likes of Findlay, Walsh and Taylor, Bakes said the Suns' skipper had every right to be mentioned in the same sentence as the BDCA royalty.
On Saturday, DeAraugo adds another milestone to his brilliant career when he plays his 250th first XI game - the first player in Strathdale-Maristians history to reach the mark.
"Ben is different to the likes of Barry Findlay, Wayne Walsh and Max Taylor,'' Bakes said.
"Barry was just a supreme talent who could do it all.
"Ben wasn't that when he first started. It's just been through his determination that he's made himself into an absolute star.
"He's not what you'd call a classical looking batsman, but he just finds a way to get the job done."
"I went out at the last drinks break and we needed about 10 an over off the last 11 or 12 overs,'' Bakes said.
"What struck me was how confident Ben was. He did not feel the pressure one bit.
"He said 'you coming out to win a flag with me'.
"He was in the zone. He is such a great competitor with an outstanding will to win."
With five premierships, more than 4300 career runs and 388 career wickets, DeAraugo is one of the best all-rounders in BDCA history.
Bakes said DeAraugo doesn't get enough credit for the way he plays the game.
"It's under-rated how much of a thinker of the game Ben is,'' he said.
"Ben wasn't an outstanding bowler (in terms of technique), but he knew how to get people out.
"He understands opposition batsmen weaknesses better than most and knows how to apply the pressure to those weaknesses.
"His thinking, combined with his pace, made him a handful with the ball."
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.