Whatever happens this season, the future remains bright at Shepparton.
From a winless season in 2013 before Brad Campbell took over as coach, the Bears have been building up to again be a powerhouse in the Goulburn Valley League.
The success the club had in the early years of the competition was never going to be sustainable.
They have 26 premierships in the trophy cabinet, but only three have come since 1978.
The last flag, which came on the same day as the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was the Bears’ most recent win in a finals game up until September last year.
But the Baby Bears are coming and will go into Sunday’s preliminary final with Seymour as slight favourites to win through to have another shot at Kyabram.
Players who are the cornerstone of the Shepparton team have stuck around for the long haul after some tough times in their early years and they are getting their rewards.
Nik Rokahr was given an opportunity by former coach Tim Little in the dark year that was 2013 and has transformed into one of the Bears’ premier players.
Meanwhile, you look back further to guys such as Rowan Hiscock and Nick Allan, who have played their whole careers at the club without much success.
An opportunity to play in a grand final, for those two especially, would be mighty special.
Similar to what some of the Western Bulldogs’ older brigade experienced in the AFL last year.