Prior to commencing in the Warrnambool and District Football League in 1953 Dennington had competed in various leagues and associations since before the first world war, but details of the club’s achievements have proved difficult to uncover. The club’s early years in the WDFL were undistinguished, and it did not manage to qualify for a senior grade grand final until 1966, when it overcame Old Collegians by 26 points, 12.15 (87) to 9.7 (61). Further grand final appearances followed in 1970, 1972, 1973, 1978, 1980 and 1981, but these all resulted in losses.
Finally, in 1982, the Dogs managed to claim their second senior grade flag courtesy of a 19.14 (128) to 16.15 (111) grand final defeat of West End Allansford. The same two sides also contested the following year's grand final, but the Dogs performed poorly, and went down by the embarrassing margin of 84 points.
The early 1980s were also noteworthy for Wayne Cox’s feat in becoming the first and still only player to win four successive league best and fairest awards.
The second half of the 1980s saw Dennington retaining its position as one of the competition’s heavyweights. The side reached the grand final in 1986, 1988 and 1989, but only the 1988 match was won. This proved to be the Dogs’ last senior grade premiership for nearly three decades. The closest they came to adding another flag during the interim were losing grand finals against Merrivale in 2006 and Kolora Noorat in 2010. Finally, in 2015 they broke through for a fourth WDFL flag when they accounted for Merrivale on grand final day with scores of 12.15 (87) to 12.7 (79). The 2016 season brought a third place finish while the following year saw them drop down the list to seventh. In 2018 this downward trend was continued as the Dogs finished eighth after managing just five wins from their 16 home and away matches. Even worse was to follow as in 2019 the Dogs managed just one win all year to slump to the wooden spoon.
Dennington’s other grades have enjoyed a modicum of success overall but none of late. The reserves went top in 1983, and the under 18s in 1984 and 1985.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications