A PLACE in the top five is the reward for Merrivale after a 38-27 win over Kolora-Noorat on Saturday.
The Tigers leapt from sixth to fifth after the win while the Power kept its hold on fourth place despite the loss.
But the resurgent Tigers are making things uncomfortably tight for those teams around them as they now sit on equal points with the Power and sixth-placed Allansford.
It was the Tigers third win on the trot and one that they controlled for most of the day on the familiar surrounds of their home court.
The Tigers used the first quarter to establish a lead which they were able to do with a 10-5 first quarter.
It was an even second quarter but Merrivale extend its lead by one, with the score 21-15 its way when the half-time whistle sounded.
The third quarter was to prove the most decisive of the game as the Tigers piled on nine goals to three to create a match-winning 30-18 lead with a quarter to play.
The Power dug in for the last quarter and ensured there would be no blow-out as they outscored the Tigers nine goals to eight without ever looking like mounting a serious challenge to the lead.
Merrivale coach and star defender Tania Ross said the win was a good reward for her team’s sustained efforts of late.
“The last month in particular we have been building and building and really starting to put it together,” she said.
“We have been playing better, more consistent netball and that is showing in the results we are getting.
“I think structurally we are a lot more settled and we have found a real consistency across the court. Everyone is really contributing.”
Ross said the return to the court this season of a number of players who have had babies, and the introduction of new players, had seen the Tigers take time to adjust.
She said players had also been tried in different positions to provide the team with greater flexibility.
Among the stars for the Tigers on Saturday was goal defence Kate Ryan, who is in her first season at Merrivale.
She crossed over from East Warrnambool at the start of the season and has quickly become an important member of the line-up.
“Kate is a very hard player with good skills and I think she is underestimated a bit by the opposition,” Ross said.
“She was very good against the Power and so was Chantelle Moloney who is good young player.”
The Tigers’ climb into the top five has been no accident, with Ross saying the team sat down three weeks ago and resolved to start winning and keep doing so to make finals. “We have got ourselves back into a good position but we need to keep winning to cement our place and not have to rely on what other teams are doing.”