Numurkah’s connections to its last Murray Football League premiership are strong.
Current co-coach Chris O’Dwyer was part of the Blues who went back-to-back either side of the turn of the century, and son Josh will take to the field today under his watchful eye.
Also pulling on the boots will be defender Josh Bell, who was just 16 in 2000 when the Blues last stood on the dais with premiership cup in hand.
O’Dwyer described the difference in build-up towards today’s clash, when compared with his time as a player in grand final week, as being stark.
‘‘The nerves are definitely there, I wouldn’t be human if they weren’t,’’ he said.
‘‘I remember being a player and getting to training and having a real buzz around the track and just forgetting about it for a bit.
‘‘That feeling of not being able to wait, being excited and carefree was great.
‘‘But as a coach it’s always in the back of your mind, am I missing something, have I done everything I can to make sure the boys are ready.’’
O’Dwyer’s son Josh has made a big impression on the side as the under-17 substitute this season, and will again be ready to go whenever he is needed today at Mercury Dve.
‘‘He’ll play a role when it’s his turn to go,’’ O’Dwyer said.
‘‘As a father coaching your son you try to treat him the same as everyone else, and I’ll back him in to do his bit.
‘‘I’m very proud of him, he’s earned his spot, and he could be in some rare company if we happen to win, it would be huge.’’
Bell played with his father Chris in Numurkah’s last flag, and will provide plenty of experience in defence against the Purples.
‘‘Josh was 16 and in the Bushies (Murray Bushrangers) set-up and he played with his father that day,’’ O’Dwyer said.
‘‘You don’t see that too often and it’s a bit ironic that 17 years later he has worked his way back into the side.’’
After overcoming a knee injury, Jordan O’Dwyer will also play against Nathalia today, adding another layer to the family affair that is the Numurkah Football Netball Club, which includes the Arnels, McKeowns and Buzzas.
‘‘My grandfather and his grandfather were brothers, he’s a ripping kid and a great footballer and I’m happy to claim him as one of my own,’’ O’Dwyer said.
‘‘If we happened to be successful the premiership would not be about the playing group, it’s about the footy club and the people who have been in it for the long haul.
‘‘It would be huge for the club and the town, and if we win the celebrations will be huge.’’