The effort was better, but Cessnock coach Al Lantry said his side’s inability to defend errors ultimately cost them victory against Central Newcastle on Sunday.
Central eventually ran out 32-12 winners but the Goannas were very much in the game for most of the second half after trailing 20-6 at half-time
“We dropped the ball three times in our half in the first half and Central managed to score off all three,” he said.
“I asked for an effort from them in the second half and they tried hard.
“We scored the first try after half-time to take it to 20-12 and then it was a good hard-fought battle for 10 to 15 minutes.
“We had plenty of opportunities and just couldn’t capitalise on them. Unfortunately, two late tries blew it out and makes it look worse than it was.
“It was an exciting game there for about 20 minutes, I thought we were really going to wrap it up and put a few tries on but we just couldn’t close it .
“I thought the young blokes again stood up. Connor (Kirkwood) started a half and led us around good. Harry (O’Brien) was good out the back.
“I thought Joshy Adu had one of his best games all year. His carries were very strong and the same with Alex Mamone up front he just kept on carrying the ball forward.
“I was pretty happy with most people’s games, everyone gave an effort it was just those little one per cent things that we didn’t close in on.”
The Goannas host four-placed Western Suburbs on Saturday.