GUN Merrivale forward Todd McLean led by example against Deakin University with an eight-goal haul in a fitting tribute to his coach Stephen "Jack" Kelson.
The new Tigers coach kicked 7.2 until half-time with another shot marked on the goal line.
Merrivale club president Paul Fish said the players turned in a super performance after Kelson's shock death last Sunday.
"I thought the boys were a real credit to themselves. To come out and perform like they did was really great," he said after the Tigers' 30.25 (205) to 3.5 (23) win.
"Todd had a tough week stepping into the coaching. He wanted to lead by example and he showed what a great leader and footballer he is. I thought he set the tone for the game in the first half."
There was a minute's silence observed at the ground at the end of the reserves game and before the start of the senior match with both sides lining up as a tribute to Kelson.
Players from South Warrnambool also attended the game and took part in the tribute. Kelson was a past Roosters coach.
In the game best-on-ground Alister Porter starred on a wing for Merrivale and chipped in with four goals.
Centre half-forward Claye Cassidy took some good grabs, onballers Brad Kelly and Sam Gleeson dominated around the packs and young ruckman Manny Sandow continued to fill in the large shoes left vacant by injured Luke McInerney.
Fish said it was also pleasing that Scott Kelly played well off a half-back flank after being cleared from Port Fairy.
"Scott was really keen to get back and play for Jack. He has to play three games for Port Fairy and he's going to do that on either side of the bye," he said.
Merrivale set the tone for the match in the opening quarter, kicking 10.8 to two points.
It took the Sharks until more than half-way through the term to enter their attacking 50-metre arc.
But the Sharks fought out the game well and wet weather during the second half assisted Deakin University in putting up more of a contest.
Better players for the Sharks included Clinton Baker, Joshua Van Heugten and Sam Attwater with classy Dylan Chaplin-Burch kicking two goals despite playing a large part of the game in the midfield.