MERRIVALE has joined Old Collegians, Nirranda and Russells Creek in the hunt for a new coach.
Incumbent Jason Porter stepped down after the Tigers’ first semi-final humbling at the hands of Dennington at Mack Oval yesterday.
Porter told The Standard he informed club officials of his decision about six weeks ago, saying he only planned to help Merrivale fill a one-season void.
The respected key forward, who was one of the best onballers in Warrnambool in his heyday, took over from Todd McLean at the start of the season.
Porter took the Tigers to third spot after the home-and-away season, despite not adding a single recruit to the senior side during the off-season.
His term has coincided with the rise of Sam Gleeson into one of the premier onballers in the league.
The development of utilities Sean Barnes and Jack Gleeson, defender Sam Green and ruckman Jack Grace are among other success stories to come out of Tigerland.
No fewer than 10 still-eligible juniors have also played seniors — the same number as winless Old Collegians — proving “rebuild” and “success” can go hand in hand.
Porter said he was disappointed with the Tigers’ performances in finals but believed his successor would inherit an exciting list.
“We’ve got a really good playing group, great kids coming through, really good supporters, a great committee,” Porter said.
“There are positives around the club once you get over the disappointment of playing a bad finals series.
“Whoever takes over will have a fantastic bunch of blokes.”
Merrivale was below par but not solely to blame for its loss yesterday.
The Tigers found plenty of football through the midfield, with Sam Gleeson, Al Porter and Josh Sobey typically prolific.
But they barely hit a target going forward, their biggest failing in a match dominated by a Dennington goalkicker who feasted on near-perfect delivery.
By contrast, Todd McLean finished with two goals from limited supply, James Fary went goalless and Jason Porter coached from the sidelines.