YOUNG Merrivale forward James Fary produced a match-winning performance when it was needed to lift his team to a 26-point victory over Russells Creek.
Fary kicked four goals as he made the most of his elevation to the role of Tigers' spearhead with coach Todd McLean out injured and Claye Cassidy going down with an injury early in Saturday's game.
The contribution from Fary was a timely one after a sluggish start from the Tigers left them trailing by two behinds at quarter-time.
The Tigers righted the ship in the second quarter to open up a 22-point lead by half -time and while the Kangaroos were able to stop that margin growing significantly in the second half, they were also unable to get any closer to causing an upset.
Merrivale coach Todd McLean said Cassidy had injured a calf and was unlikely to play against Deakin University this week. McLean is also out with a calf injury and will also not play against the Sharks.
McLean said he was happy with both the form of Fary and of the team as a whole.
"They got the ascendancy early but we stayed calm and did well after quarter-time, " McLean said.
"James Fary took some nice marks and responded well to the extra responsibility and Luke McInerney was also really good for us."
It was another creditable performance from Russells Creek after getting within a kick of Allansford the previous week. Ben Jansen again set the standard for the Kangaroos and the playmaker will need to be at his best this week when his team meets Dennington.