Merrivale A Grade mentor Elisa Sobey says composure from some key players proved crucial in its thrilling 35-33 A Grade qualifying final win against Panmure on Saturday.
The Tigers had to claw deep to find just enough momentum to take the win and advance closer to a Warrnambool and District grand final, but they had to contend with a Bulldogs outfit steadfast in defence and up for the fight.
The score was level at quarter time and never threatened to pull away for each side with the pressure of the contest high and both teams holding their defensive structures well.
"I'm very proud, really proud of the group, there was so many opportunities where we could have dropped our heads, but the smarts kicked in, our bookends really kept the calm across the court," Sobey told The Standard.
"I'm not the best example out in the middle of keeping calm, I'm a bit too erratic, but we were just getting used to those jitters in finals."
The Tigers coach said the leaders stood up when the pressure was at its maximum.
"Without our defence it would have been a whole new story I reckon - they held us up, without Cloe (Pulling) and Nicole (Ferguson) down there it would have been different.
"It probably shows how reliant we are on those two to hold the team together so I take my hats off to them."
Sobey said despite her group putting together strong patches of netball and fighting hard to take the win, it took time to get the feel for the contest.
"That's not our best game, we were very flat in the first half," she said. "Three years is a big break between playing netball finals so it's about finding your feet and feeling the bigger crowd again.
"Some of the girls don't like hearing people whereas I love hearing the crowd, I need them at times for a lift, it's just finding that happy medium between playing the game and dealing with the loud noise.
"You've all of a sudden got a massive crowd so it was a bit of an adjustment for sure."
The Tigers now play a semi-final clash against Nirranda.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.