HEART-AND-SOUL forward Darcy Lewis has sparked a changing of the guard at Dennington, signing with Mininera powerhouse Wickliffe-Lake Bolac to end a decorated career in red and white.
Lewis guided Dennington to a drought-breaking Warrnambool and District premiership in 2015 and spent a total of six seasons as coach in two separate stints.
The father-of-three departs alongside key forward Chris Keilar, who rose through Wickliffe-Lake Bolac’s ranks as a junior before joining the Dogs in 2008.
Lewis said it was a tough decision to leave his home club, but felt the time was right for a new challenge.
“At the back-end of both of our careers, Boots (Keilar) was always keen to go back out there and have another year with his mates before he finishes,” he said.
“They’ve tried to get him back in the past, while I was coaching, and I’ve sort of talked him out of it. Chris has definitely done his part at Dennington and the time has come where he can go back out there, and I thought I’d go spend a year with him before I finish too.
“I’ve never been in the position where I felt the time was right to leave Dennington, but at the same time I’ll be no good to anyone in the years after this so hopefully I can get another year out of myself.”
Lewis, whose father Geoff is also a premiership mentor at the Dogs, said he would remain involved at his home club.
“My kids aren’t old enough to play yet, but they will play there when they are,” he said.
The Magpies have come close to the ultimate success in recent years but were unable to win the grand final against Tatyoon in 2016 before getting knocked out of at the final hurdle by Lismore-Derrinallum by 15 points in 2017.
The two key signings could be just what Wickliffe-Lake Bolac need to break the hoodoo and win its first flag since 2013.