Sandhurst Football Netball Club wants to reconnect with past players and supporters.
Starting with several premiership reunions at Saturday's BFNL clash with Kangaroo Flat at the QEO, the Dragons are keen to build a past players group for former footballers, netballers and supporters.
Former Sandhurst wingman Kieran Prowse is playing his part in getting former Dragons back to the club.
"In today's society, with mental health so important and what we've all been through the past two years with COVID and lockdowns, it's vital to get people back together and reconnect,'' Prowse said.
"This group we're putting together will give people the opportunity to catch-up, reminisce about their time at the club and watch Sandhurst.
"The plan moving forward is we have a premiership reunion one day each season and a past players and supporters day separate to that.
"It's not just about the players, you might have been a supporter or a trainer or worked around the club. It's netball as well, not just football.
"It's not just about premierships or winning and losing. It's about people reconnecting and getting back to the club."
The COVID-19 pandemic stopped the club from hosting several premiership reunions over the past two years.
The Dragons are making up for lost time by inviting 21 football and netball premiership teams dating back to 1961 to the QEO on Saturday.
"I moved back to Bendigo at Christmas time after spending 20 years in Melbourne,'' Prowse said.
"When I played footy at Keilor I saw how prominent the past player group was.
"Once or twice a year they made a big effort to get all past players back to the club.
"They'd get people travelling from all over the place to come back to the club. They'd talk about their memories and past achievements and I thought it was wonderful.
"I'm really passionate about Sandhurst and getting people back together.... having a chat and building a past players group where people can stay linked with the club.
"This weekend we're starting a few things like a QR code where people can enter their details.
"We'll start small this year and then build on it in the next few years."
One of Sandhurst's most famous premiership teams - the 1981 senior football squad - will return to the club to belatedly celebrate the 40th anniversary of its success.
Captain-coached by Peter Lenaghan, the Dragons thrashed Castlemaine by 69 points, 16.19 (115) to 6.10 (46).
The grand final came two weeks after the Dragons had lost to the Magpies in the second semi-final by five goals in a high-scoring encounter where star Castlemaine forward Wayne Crosbie kicked 12 goals.
"Castlemaine took us to pieces in the second semi-final at Camp Reserve,'' Sandhurst best-and-fairest winner that season, Dennis O'Connor, said.
"They were a very good side that played that ground really well. We were a running side that played the QEO really well.
"Very early in the grand final Mick Lenaghan ran down the grandstand side of the QEO and kicked a great goal at the city end and that got us going.
"We had a really good first quarter that day and that set us up.
"A lot of us had played junior footy together and come through the ranks at Sandhurst.
"It was a very talented side, we had (future Geelong and Fitzroy forward) Gavin Exell sitting on the bench."
O'Connor and Mick Lenaghan, who won the 1981 Michelsen Medal, had 33 and 34 kicks respectively on grand final day.
Lenaghan went on to play 22 games for Geelong in the mid-1980s.
"We had so many good players that maybe didn't get the recognition they deserved,'' O'Connor said.
"Andrew Storer was an incredibly talented player, Kevin Walsh was an under-rated player and a much better player than people gave him credit for.
"Marty Sloan was a dominant ruckman and we had a few hard nuts in the backline like Peter Lenaghan, Noel Belsar and Chris Greene.
"I think we won the game that day, but we lost the fights."
Any former Sandhurst player or supporter who would like to get involved in the past players and supporters group can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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