THE return from injury of star ruckman Rhys Raymond has added extra lustre to Merrivale’s big win over the Timboon Demons.
The Tigers made the long trip to Timboon on Saturday a worthwhile one with a 125-point win over the Demons, 25.18 (168) to 6.7 (43).
Raymond returned to the Tigers line-up after missing the last two games with a calf injury. It was a successful outing for the Maskell medallist, who was named as one of the Tigers’ best for his performance in the ruck where he played about 80 per cent of the game.
Merrivale coach Karl Dwyer said it was a pleasing return by the big man. “It was good to have him back. He is a big body that adds some physicality for us and if he doesn’t get a possession he clears some space,” Dwyer said.
“We were happy with our performance as a team. On those muddy days you never know what you can get so we knew we had to start well which we did.”
The Tigers shot out to a 28-point quarter-time lead, steadily increasing the margin.
Onballer Seamus Blake was the Tigers’ best for the second week in a row while Brad Kelly kicked eight goals to keep his place at the top of the league goalkicking list. The Tigers come up against Kolora-Noorat this week and will welcome back ruckman Manny Sandow and full-forward Jet Dowie.
Sandow missed the game against the Demons with study commitments while Dowie has been out for two games with a lower back complaint.
On the downside, Josh Guiney will miss up to a month after sustaining a hamstring injury.
Timboon Demons coach Brendan Hickey said it was a tough day for his team against quality opposition. “The scoreboard indicates it was a fair hiding and we were competitive in patches but they were just too good,” Hickey said.
“They are a good side. They play a Hampden league brand of footy, they run and spread well and they can cut you up quickly.”
Hickey paid tribute to his brother Marcus who he said played in the ruck all day and was his team’s best player.
The Demons will now look to regroup ahead of a winnable game against Deakin University at Timboon this week.
The two went head-to-head just a fortnight ago with the Sharks winning at Mortlake by 16 points.
The availability of Demons full-back Andrew Powell won’t be known until later in the week after he was subbed off early in the second half on Saturday with a shoulder injury.
Hickey said the Demons are looking forward to another close tussle against the Sharks.
“We always knew it was going to be difficult against Merrivale and we had to make sure we concentrated on that game and not got to far ahead of ourselves and started thinking about the Sharks.
“But we can now put the Merrivale game behind us and work hard at training this week to get ready to have a good crack against the Sharks.”