AN eight-goal first half lifted Merrivale to a comfortable 32-point victory over South Rovers at the Walter Oval on Saturday.
The Tigers didn’t mess around as they exerted their dominance to lead by 13 points at quarter-time and 46 points at half-time.
South Rovers was able to bounce back after the main break to outscore their higher ranked opponent by four goals to two but there was never going to be any other result than a Tigers victory. The final score saw Merrivale 10.9 (69) defeat South Rovers 5.7 (37).
The wet conditions did not stop Merrivale’s forward fire power from functioning at an impressive level with Jet Dowie kicking five goals and Brad Kelly three.
Merrivale achieved the win without coach Karl Dwyer and assistant coach Joe Woonton with both expected to return for the Tigers clash against Allansford this week.
Woonton liked what he saw from the sidelines.
“It was a tough day with the conditions, the ground held up well but the ball was very slippery, especially in the second half,” Woonton said.
“I thought our forward line worked really well, our midfield worked hard and were able to stick to the plan of bringing the ball in on the attacking side of the ground.”
Woonton praised the performance of James Kelly and Seamus Blake for their ability to win the contested football and feed it out effectively to the team’s running players.
He said the Tigers are looking forward to their clash with Allansford having lost a nine-point thriller in round one when the teams last met.
“They were really well drilled in that first game and were pretty impressive,” Woonton said of Allansford.
“I think we have come a long way since then and I’m sure they have as well so it should be a great game.”
Second-placed Merrivale is now a game clear of Allansford in third so a victory this week would almost guarantee the Tigers a hold on a top-three place come finals time.
For South Rovers the competitive performance against the Tigers will give them some momentum heading into another home game this week against Kolora-Noorat.
Veteran Julian Claridge was the Lions’ only multiple goalkicker against the Tigers with two while Daniel Threlfall was at the top of the team’s best player list.
In other round 13 games Nirranda kept its finals dream alive with an 87-point win over Russells Creek.
It was the Blues’ seventh win for the season and keeps them just two games from the top five.
James Dalton was the star in front of goals for Nirranda kicking four goals, a season-high performance for him.
Peter McDowall was named as the Blues’ best player while for the Kangaroos strong-bodied onballer Ben Jansen showed his class with another standout performance.
The Timboon Demons will remember their journey to the Dennington Recreation Reserve on Saturday for all the wrong reasons.
It was a tough day for the Demons who kicked just two behinds for the day as they went down to Dennington by 77 points and it took the Demons until the last quarter to kick their first score.
For the Dogs Alex Pye kicked four goals in a win that has moved the Dogs back within reach of a top three place as they now sit just a game behind third placed Allansford.