Merrick proud of players

Ernie Merrick found Friday night's 3-3 draw with competition leaders Brisbane Roar hard to swallow, but the Melbourne Victory coach was proud of his players' efforts in a thrilling contest that was lost, then won, and ultimately drawn.

Ernie Merrick found Friday night's 3-3 draw with competition leaders Brisbane Roar hard to swallow, but the Melbourne Victory coach was proud of his players' efforts in a thrilling contest that was lost, then won, and ultimately drawn.

The Roar went ahead with two goals from set pieces before the Victory struck back with three including a double to Robbie Kruse in 14 dazzling second-half minutes.

The Victory appeared set to hang on for just their fifth win for the season before Roar skipper Matt McKay managed to score with virtually the last touch of the game.

"I felt for the boys," said a disappointed Merrick.

"For three games now we've played very, very good football and we haven't had a win."

"Their goal was in the last minute of the game and that's pretty tough to take."

"They're really disappointed about the result but ... I can assure they're not down and out about the quality of their football."

"It's just one of those seasons where we just don't have any luck at all and things don't break for us."

Merrick said he was especially proud of Matthew Kemp's performance despite the full-back's own goal which opened the scoring for Roar after 30 minutes.

The 29-year-old was making his return to Hyundai A-League action after 10 months on the sidelines following a knee reconstruction.

"We didn't actually plan to leave him on the pitch for 90 minutes, he was dying at the end there, but we had to put on an attacking player," said Merrick of Kemp.

"And we had injuries, we couldn't do anything about it."

"Brebs' shin was a miss from last week's tackle ... and the calf of Leigh (Broxham) and Robbie (Kruse) had hamstring tightness and we didn't want to risk him for another 10 minutes."

"That meant Kempy had to stay on and he did a great job."

While the Roar's first two goals came from set pieces, Merrick said he was more concerned about the nine corners his team conceded in the first half.

He was delighted that the side was able to rebound strongly in the second half and said a number of players will be better for the run heading into next week's derby with Melbourne Heart.

"When Robbie, Archie, Kempy and Surat (Sukha) get really fit I keep thinking how strong a side we'll have," Merrick said.