HE'S spent 12 seasons as a senior men's coach in the AFL Central West competition but before Mark Kennedy puts the whiteboard away he has one more box he wants to tick.
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He'd love to be the man who coaches the Bathurst Giants to their first senior men's crown.
Standing in the way is the Bathurst Bushrangers, the club where Kennedy made his top grade AFL Central West coaching debut.
It has been a coaching career full of proud moments.
In 2011, his first year in charge, Kennedy guided the Bushrangers to the grand final. Though his side went down 18-13-121 to 9-7-61 in the decider against Cowra, next season things were different.
In 2012 the Bushrangers won on grand final day, beating Cowra 14-6-90 to 9-11-65.
The following season Kennedy was back at the helm for a campaign which still haunts him.
The Bushrangers won 16 consecutive games on their way to the grand final. They'd beaten the Orange Tigers - their rivals for the premiership decider - six times during the regular season.
Kennedy was named coach of the year and his men were as hot as favourites get for a grand final.
But the Tigers sprung one of the great all-time upsets in the league, winning 14-8-92 to 13-11-89.
After that Kennedy moved on to the Giants and has guided their men's first grade side ever since.
He's hoping, in what would be an interesting twist to end his time as a coach, that his Giants can now do to the Bushrangers what the Tigers did to the Bathurst side in 2013.
The Giants have lost to the undefeated Bushrangers five times this season.
"It's a good way to finish a season, by getting into a grand final. I'm looking forward to finishing my coaching career on a grand final day. We'll see what happens, anything can happen," he said.
"There was only that one blow out between us at the start of the year ... since then we've gotten closer to them. It's just like the Tigers did when I was coaching in 2013.
"We're just going to enjoy the day, we're just going to go out and play the best footy we can, take the ball on, take the contest on and have a crack with our game plan."
Saturday's grand final will be the second in the history of the Giants men.
In 2020 they qualified for the first time but the Bushrangers - who went undefeated that season - were far too good. At the final siren the scoreboard read 19-14-128 to 8-4-52.
Having learned from that experience, the Giants won 10 of 12 last season to finish as minor premiers and earn a direct path to the grand final.
It's a grand final they never got the chance to play, with COVID-19 forcing the remainder of the season to be abandoned.
Both those campaigns are now acting as motivators for Kennedy and his men.
"Our guys, they're still hurting from that absolute drubbing we got two years ago, we still remember that," he said.
"I thought last year we played really well for no reward, finishing minor premiers."
Though it remains to be seen what Saturday afternoon at George Park 2 brings, Kennedy is already proud of his men.
"It was funny we had a chat before the season started about what a successful season would look like for us and we thought if we just enjoy our football, enjoy each others' company and look after each other, have a crack and see what happens, we'll be happy with that," he said.
"We've had a crack, it's worked, we've made our way to a grand final."
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