There was a touch of relief for Merrivale on Saturday as the Tigers returned to the winners' list with victory over fellow top-five side Kolora-Noorat.
The Tigers were riding a two-match losing streak but that came to an end with their 13.11 (89) to 7.5 (47) triumph.
Tigers coach Josh Sobey said it had been a "rough couple of weeks" for the side which was fresh from heavy defeats at the hands of Warrnambool and District league powerhouses Panmure and Nirranda.
"We've been working hard behind the scenes but we just put it together and played our brand for what we think was close to our best four-quarter performance," he said.
"I'm just proud that we stuck to it at training and worked hard."
Merrivale was in control for most of the game and played to its strengths, according to Sobey.
A prolific final quarter saw the Tigers extend their three-quarter-time lead of 22 to 42.
Forwards Luke Byrne (ACL) and Kyden Jarvis (injury) have been absent from the Tigers' line-up since round eight and four, with Sobey detailing the difficulty around re-structuring.
"It doesn't really work in the first three-to-four weeks so we've been working pretty hard," he said.
"Credit to them (the Tigers) for sticking to the path and not giving up on it. Because you get a couple of tough losses above sides above you and you do question what's going on."
Dylan Scoble was named Merrivale's best player while experienced midfielder Jason Moloney was Kolora-Noorat's equivalent.
Sobey said Sammy Doukas would miss a couple of weeks with a tight hamstring and the club was "touch and go" on whether Jarvis would return to the field in 2022.
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