Cessnock’s great run with injuries came to an abrupt halt on Sunday, with three key players injured in the Goannas’ 30-8 win at home against Central Newcastle.
Five-eight Brett Stevens, powerful utility Marvin Filipou and front-rower Robert Tuliatu are all unlikely to be available for next week and possibly longer.
It was the only sour note on the day, as the Goannas continued to accumulate points in an increasingly tight battle for finals spots.
“We really didn’t have any injuries this year, but picked up three on the weekend and I’m doubtful any of them will play next week,” Goannas coach Dan Smailes said.
“Our five-eighth Brett Stevens didn’t come out after half-time with a shoulder, Marvin Filipou has a hamstring, hopefully it’s only a strain but that will be a week or two.
“Rob Tuliatu our young front-rower hyper-extended his knee so we’re just waiting on a report on how he is. But he’ll probably be a week or two.”
After a slow start, the Goannas went into the sheds with a 12-8 lead and then piled on the pressure to keep Centrals scoreless and add three tries of their own.
Josh Dimmock mesmerised the Centrals defence to score a treble in almost identical circumstance.
“The tries were all exactly the same. He put on a big dummy and crossed from two or three metres out. He has scored a few tries for us this year,” Smailes said
“We moved front-rower Brendan Hlad to lock and he played well and fullback Brent Mendyk was good again.”
Smailes said he was impressed by Mendyk’s improvement as a first grade player after moving up the ranks from third grade at the start of last year.
“He is always at training early to work hard on his kicking. He takes a lot of good high bombs, His defence has saved us a lot of tries and he just does so much work with the footy,” he said.
“He doesn’t mind taking it to the line, he is full of heart. He probably had 25 hit-ups.”
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