WHEN Merrivale was hit by 14 summer departures, it turned to youth to fill the void of proven talent.
Three games in, Merrivale’s cubs are exceeding all expectations.
The Tigers flexed muscle of old to dismantle East Warrnambool by 45 points on Saturday, its second triumph of the campaign.
“They’ve been amazing, the new bunch of boys,” Merrivale assistant Matt Brown said.
“Jacob Henderson was great, Will Flaherty didn’t play because he had a niggle, Tate Porter has a bright future and Ollie Doukas has come in and held down a role across half-back.
“He hasn’t looked out of place at all. He has a great ability to read the ball as its coming down. They’ve got a bright future as a group.
“They’ll be outstanding if they stick together for three or four years.”
Brown said his side made a conscious effort to spread the load and urged midfielders to hit the scoreboard.
“We know with lower-placed teams that they try to get a lot of numbers behind the ball and on Jase (Rowan) so we put the onus on the midfielders to kick three or four as a group,” he said.
“If you can do that, you get three or four pretty damaging goals that can really hurt an opposition.
“We had to work hard defensively against East. There were about 34 goals kicked for the game and I think 26 of those were to the city end of the ground.
“They were testing conditions and we had to work hard against the wind for two quarters.”