SEAMUS Blake comes into his own when winter arrives and football calls on those who can do the tough stuff.
The Merrivale onballer has produced the best two performances of his season in the past fortnight and both have been in the wet.
The lift in form started when the Tigers named him their best against Kolora-Noorat in round 10.
He followed up by leading the way in a convincing defeat of Timboon Demons last weekend.
Blake, who returned to Merrivale during the summer after spending last season with Koroit, knows his place in the side.
He’s surrounded by silky-skilled runners — Sam Gleeson, Al Porter, even James Kelly to a lesser extent.
His job is to win the contested ball at the bottom of packs and feed it to those on the outside. Strength, not speed, is his forte.
“That’s what I like to do. The wet-weather footy is what I like to play ... get underneath the ball and get it to running players like Sam and Al,” he said.
“It’s good to know I can do something to help them out.
“I always walk off saying I could’ve done something better but at some stage you know you’ve played all right and contributed well to the team.”
Blake’s return to Tiger-land has been beneficial for both club and player.
The 20-year-old former North Ballarat Rebel relished his time playing under respected coach Adam Dowie at Koroit.
“The way he words stuff is just unreal ... he doesn’t be really aggressive, he tells you what to do and you go and do it,” he said.
But Merrivale always felt like his football home. He’d already won premierships at under 14½ and under 17½ level with the club.
“It was sort of a family decision (to return). I grew up at Merrivale, I had stayed at Merrivale all my life.”
From a club perspective, he gives the Tigers a genuine inside player, the type they sorely lacked all last season.
The common perception was they were outmuscled by Dennington in the first semi-final. Few think that will happen again.
“The last few years Merrivale has got to finals and I don’t know what they’ve lacked. But this year looks like a turning point for the club,” Blake said.
Merrivale takes on Kolora-Noorat at Merrivale Recreation Reserve today. The Tigers won the corresponding fixture by 49 points a fortnight ago.