AN unusual preparation has produced the desired result for Merrivale.
Going into Saturday’s game against South Rovers, the Tigers had not played since May 12.
Coach Jason Rowan said the extended break provided an interesting challenge.
“The first week we had the complete week off, we just told the players to have a break from footy,” Rowan said.
“After that we had some PT sessions and then got back into normal training. Last Saturday we had an intra-club practice match. The boys threw themselves into that game and we got a lot of out it.”
Rowan’s planning was a success, with the Tigers defeating the Lions 9.12. (66) to 7.15. (57).
It was a hard-fought win, with both teams committing strongly to each contest, meaning scoring was always difficult. The scoreboard told exactly that tale, scores were level at quarter-time, the Lions led by 14 points at the main break before the Tigers trimmed that to just four going into the final term.
An early goal in the last quarter from Josh Britton moved Merrivale into the lead and when his teammate Ollie Watson kicked another soon after, the home crowd found their voice and the Lions had plenty of work to do.
South Rovers won their share of the football but the Tigers defence, led by Sean Barnes, held firm, keeping the visitors goalless.
At the other end of the ground, Rowan provided a focal point for his team, kicking three goals. Rowan had injured his knee in the Tigers last game but his team’s long absence from the field meant he didn’t miss a match.
While he was happy to be fit again, Rowan said the Tigers forward line was a collaborative effort.
“A good forward line needs other avenues to goal, it’s not great to rely on one player,” Rowan said.
“Our aim is to have multiple goalkickers chipping in.”
Merrivale now has three wins and will start favourite this week against Panmure.
Rowan said momentum is starting to build.
“It was a great feeling after the win, we had talked about mateship and character and how important those things are,” Rowan said.
“We have some opportunities ahead of us but we have to break it down to one game, one quarter at a time.”
After staring the season with six wins, South Rovers has now lost its last three games.
Coach Adam Matheson said the loss was a combination of a poor performance from his team and a good one from their opponents.
“It was very disappointing, we had some momentum in the second quarter we didn’t make the most of and we were inaccurate in the third,” Matheson said.
“Merrivale were super, they wanted to win more than we did, simple as that.”