Merrivale coach Elisha Sobey was pleased to get a gritty victory in the heat over a tough opponent under the belt early in the season.
The Tigers started their Warrnambool and District league open netball premiership defence with a 45-36 victory over Old Collegians at Davidson Oval on Friday.
First-year coach Sobey rated the game, which was played in hot conditions, one of the toughest she had played in.
"That was tough. So glad it is over and it was one that was anyone's game until the last seven minutes," she said.
"We were very lucky to take that in the end. Fitness didn't come into it. It was just gritting your teeth and hoping to god that you were going to get your goals in."
Sobey, who was coaching her first game for the club, was pleased her side's experienced heads stood up when the game was on the line.
"We just grit our teeth and just looked at the scoreboard and no one was going to let it go," she said.
"I was a bit worried there at one stage but it was the expected ones that stood up and really held out in there.
"Nicole Ferguson grit her teeth and she was all day my best (player) and she kept us in it, she didn't give up. All her one percenters held us in there."
Sobey also praised goalie Jess Haberfield, who scored 21 goals in her debut for the Tigers.
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Old Collegians coach Jess Toleman praised her side's performance but knows there is still plenty of work to do.
"We started well and we still have a fair bit to work on, which is always what round one brings for us," she said.
"We have left it on a positive note, which is always a good thing. Our final execution on passes we will look at addressing and a bit of court play but apart from that the girls are in good spirits.
"The girls are confident amongst themselves and they're a really good playing group, which makes my job very easy.
"They'll walk away and are all mature enough to address what we need to work on."
Old Collegians' Grace Bell failed to play out the game due to a nasty finger injury. She later went to hospital to get it assessed.
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