SIMON Jorgensen has no problems admitting that in 1996, Kyneton was the best side in the Bendigo Football League.
Maryborough may have finished on top of the ladder that year, but it was the Tigers who Jorgensen really rated as the side to beat throughout the home and away season.
But as with all sports, it doesn't matter what a team does during the home and away season, it's all about getting the job done when it counts - on grand final day.
And there's no better testament to that than the Kangaroo Flat side of 1996, which was coached by Jorgensen.
Kangaroo Flat lost to Kyneton three times throughout the home and away season - by 10 points in round one, 71 in round six and 51 in round 13.
The Tigers also had the Roos' measure in the qualifying final, winning by 18 points, having led by 53 points at three-quarter time.
But in the one game between the two clubs in 1996 where it all really was on the line, it was the Roos who prevailed.
Sunday, September 22, 1996, remains the most famous day in Kangaroo Flat history throughout its time in the BFL, dating back to the early '80s.
It was the day the Roos beat Kyneton 18.8 (116) to 15.20 (110) to win their first, and still only, senior premiership in the BFL.
It ranks as one of the great grand finals in BFL history, and also one of the great upsets, with only the staunchest of Kangaroo Flat supporters giving their side a hope of quashing the Tigers' bid for back-to-back flags.
The memorable grand final triumph will be relived this weekend as the Roos hold a reunion of their premiership side of 10 years ago
"It was great for Kangaroo Flat at the time - it was their first premiership in the BFL," Jorgensen, who was 25 at the time of the win, said this week.
"I still remember how fantastic it was for all the blokes who had been there for such a long time to come up and win when they weren't supposed to.
"Make no mistake about it, I thought Kyneton was the best team for the whole season and they had beaten us four out of four times beforehand.
"But I think we got ourselves cherry ripe for the grand final and we got Kyneton on the right occasion.
"I think Kyneton was probably a little too good at the time - they had won the grand final the year before and they were fairly strong and confident, and that probably worked to our advantage," he said.
"We just caught them on the hop, we got some lucky breaks and ran with them and at the end of the day, I reckon Kyneton would be kicking themselves because it was the one that got away."
When the 1996 grand final comes up in conversation, it always seems to be the barnstorming final quarter the Tigers produced to almost snatch the win that is the talking point.
At three-quarter time, Kangaroo Flat led by 50 points after booting nine goals to two with the aid of the strong breeze in the third term.
And after Paul Gray kicked the first goal of the final quarter, and his fourth of the game, the Roos had skipped out to a 56-point lead.
But the Roos wouldn't score again, while Kyneton added 7.8 to draw within a goal in the dying moments.
Like it had been for much of the final term, the ball was deep in the Tigers' forward line at the city end of the ground in the 33rd minute when Kyneton vice-captain Paul Cass gained possession in the forward pocket.
As Cass swung around to send another shot goalwards, the siren sounded, paving the way for hundreds of jubilant Kangaroo Flat supporters to swarm the ground.
However, central umpire Geoff Millar hadn't heard the final siren and had to be alerted by his colleague, Geoff Williamson, that the game had ended.
"Given another minute, it certainly could have been a different result," Jorgensen said as he reflected on the dramatic final
The strong wind, which had been described as a five-goal breeze, was favouring the city end, and the grandstand side of the ground.
Such was the strength of the breeze, it destroyed the Roos' banner before the players had the chance to break through it as they ran onto the ground for the club's first senior grand final appearance in the BFL.
"In the last quarter, we really tried to focus on slowing the game down and trying to play the grandstand side of the ground, because we thought if the ball went out of bounds, it would be hard to bring back in from there," he said.
"Kyneton was just superb in that last quarter and really played the style of footy we expected them to play."
After the win, Jorgensen told The Bendigo Advertiser: "You can never give in. It's not over until the fat lady sings.
"This is the type of attitude we went out with today. Full credit to the boys. They fought hard all day."
Kyneton coach Derrick Filo summed it up perfectly after the game: "You can't win games with one quarter".
The Roos, who went into the game full of confidence after smashing Maryborough by 109 points in the preliminary final, kicked with the breeze in the first term, opening up a 21-point lead at quarter-time.
"We couldn't have gone into the game any better - we had a lot of form and a lot of confidence," Jorgensen said.
"We worked so hard on being really positive, and we thought if we could get a good start to the game, it would hold us in good stead confidence-wise and give us a good chance of winning."
The Tigers cut the deficit to seven points at half-time, but should have been in front after kicking a wasteful 4.9 with the wind in the second term.
From there, the game was set up for a thrilling second half, and it didn't disappoint the almost 12,000 fans, who drank an estimated 3600 cans of beer, 4500 cans of soft drink, ate 1300 hamburgers and 1920 pies.
Jorgensen was the perfect leader for his men, playing in the midfield and up forward, and was duly rewarded with the Nalder Medal for best on ground.
"It was a very even team performance that allowed us to win the game," Chris Harrington, who captained the side, said.
"But Jorgo added his touch of class at a number of crucial times during the game.
"He combined particularly well with Brett Gloury, who was swung into the ruck during the third quarter, when the game was effectively won."
Harrington earned the VCFL medal for his game off half-back.
"Chris was fantastic," Jorgensen said.
"It was great for me to have Chris because I had grown up playing against him and we worked off each other a lot.
"He was a very good midfielder in those days, but he played for us off half-back and on the QEO, he was such a dominant runner and won his position, like he did each week."
Gloury, who was appointed coach of the Roos the following year, held the defence together in the first half, before being swung into the ruck in the third term and dominating the centre square hit-outs.
"Brett came to us mid-season with Jamie Barkmeyer and he was fantastic," Jorgensen said.
"We put him into the ruck and he just worked his butt off; adding him and Jamie to our team really topped us off and gave us some experience, which is what we needed."
Other players named in the best were Barry Pitson, Gray, Ash Wilson, Noel Shelton, defender Grant Leader and Troy Rodda.
Scott Tully and David Lancaster kicked three goals each.
The win capped a dream debut season in charge of the Roos for Jorgensen, who had previously played in a premiership side with Castlemaine.
Jorgensen had not been appointed coach of the Roos until February, 1996.
"We all bonded pretty quickly and we attacked the season head on," Jorgensen said.
"The great thing about it was the boys really wanted to listen and learn, which was a coach's dream.
"They all took on board everything we said and just gave it a go because over time we explained what they would get out of it if they put in.
"We stressed that it was good team performances that won games, and everybody toed the line in that regard."
Harrington recalls Jorgensen brought a real sense of confidence to Kangaroo Flat, which had finished 6th, 6th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 6th and 7th in the previous seven seasons.
"He was very positive and always working on what players could do and how they could best use their strengths for the team's benefit," said Harrington, who along with Shelton and Ron Wicks are the only players from that premiership side still playing for the Roos.
"He was an excellent speaker and made our players believe they could do it.
"He didn't accept the coaching position until well after Christmas, but was greeted by a group of enthusiastic players ready to be coached and willing to learn.
"He then moulded the side into a competitive group, instilled a belief that we could win at finals time and then, with a slice of luck here and there, put it altogether in the first-semi final, preliminary final and then grand final, culminating in a premiership."
However, Jorgensen only remained at Dower Park for one season.
The following year, work commitments meant he headed to Robinvale, where he coached the Eagles in the Sunraysia league for three seasons.
He coached Robinvale to the flag in his first season, meaning in the space of just four years, he had led three separate clubs in three different leagues - Balranald (Central Murray, '94), Kangaroo Flat (Bendigo '96) and the Eagles - to premierships.
It was ironic that Jorgensen's opposing grand final coach in 1996 was Filo.
The two were premiership team-mates at Castlemaine in 1992 and Filo famously departed the Magpies midway through 1994 to play under Jorgensen at Balranald.
And Jorgensen knew he needed to keep the influence of his good mate for the Tigers to an absolute minimum.
"Jason Tully was just about Derrick's size, and we had to play Jason on him to try to stop that individual brilliance because he is the sort of guy who can take over a game in a short time.
"So Jason did a fantastic job and was a huge reason why we won the game."
Following the win, 3000 supporters later greeted the victorious Roos at Dower Park on that famous Sunday night.
"The celebrations were a great occasion - there was a huge crowd at the QEO and many of the Kangaroo Flat supporters returned to Dower Park to enjoy the club's first BFL premiership," Harrington said.
And no doubt, many of those supporters will be back at Dower Park this weekend to celebrate once again.