The 21-year old was thrown a lifeline by the Victory after falling out of favour at the Brisbane Roar and his new home has given him a new lease on life, culminating in his first-half trio of goals in Saturday night's 6-2 demolition of the Perth Glory at Etihad Stadium.
''He just seems to get better every week and he's moved from being wide player to a more central striker,'' Merrick said after the match.
''I spoke to him before the game and said that last little bit sometimes it's just opportunistic goals, be in the right spot, having that awareness of what's going to fall in the penalty box for you.
''Often strikers, a lot of the goals are just tap-ins but I thought all of his goals were really well taken and it was really cruise control after (that).''
It seems that Kruse is becoming the perfect foil for departed strikers Danny Allsopp and Ney Fabiano but the faith the Victory has shown in him has not yet been vindicated with more solid performances required to help the reigning champions defend their A-League title.