The grand final triumph gave the Victory their fourth championship, moving them in front of Sydney FC as the most successful club in A-League history.
Unfortunately, Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas got in the way, and the Jets player connected with him.
In the end, it was Merrick's one-time protege turned combatant Muscat who got the last laugh in a contest that started breathlessly but ended well in control of Victory's experienced campaigners.
The Jets dominated for large periods in the first half, but went to the break down 1-0 down after a controversial goal to Kosta Barbarouses in the ninth minute.
Replays showed that Donachie appeared to be offside when George's foot made contact with the ball, but the video assistant referee didn't intervene.
The former Cork City and Sunderland man was in action with his side in the grand final, as they looked to end the season with the league title for the first time.
Referee Jarred Gillett was left with no option other than to issue a red card to the 32-year-old, who now faces a lengthy ban for his second sending-off of the season. In spite of the presence of VAR, the goal decision was not reviewed.
Players from the Victory were obviously fired up, and for good reason.
Minutes later Thomas topped it, parrying away Riley McGree's would-be equaliser before recovering in time to divert Jason Hoffman's point-blank follow-up shot away to safety.
If not for those world-class efforts the Jets would at least have levelled the ledger, finishing a one-sided first half with 11 shots to three.
The visitors utilised their big-stage experience to close down the game as James Troisi and Terry Antonis began to properly assert themselves.
Obviously desperate to score, Donovan lunged at the ball with everything he had.
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