Former South Newcastle premiership winning prop Cameron King will play in Cessnock's NSW Country Cup game against North Tamworth at Cessnock Sportsground on Saturday.
It is the clearest sign yet that King will join the Goannas in 2020, leaving just Cessnock junior and 108 NRL game forward Joel Edwards as the club's major target yet to sign.
"At this stage we are deep in negotiations with both of them," Cessnock coach Todd Edwards said this week on the final two major recruits to the Goannas side which was beaten by Western Suburbs in last year's Newcastle RL grand final
"I think Kingy is across the line, he is training with us and trialling this Saturday.
"We're still negotiating with Joel. There's nothing in concrete yet but we're very confident."
Goannas will name a youthful team with still plenty of first grade experience for the Country Cup clash which kicks off at 6pm.
"It's very early in our preparation and we will see how we go. It will be a team that will compete, but I must admit I don't know a great deal about North Tamworth," Edwards said.
"The Group 4 competition has traditionally been a very strong competition so we expect a really good hit out.
"There will be five or six kids from last year's grand final team.
"We are going to give some kids who have trained well in the pre-season a chance. Some of the boys coming up from under-19s and some kids who have been pretty consistent at reserve grade will get an opportunity too."
Edwards said the Goannas had been aggressive in recruiting during the off-season to cover the loss of a number players through either retirement or movement to other clubs.
They have already snared former Knights players Tyler Randall and Tyrone Amey along with ex-Lakes grand final players Cody Charles and Nick Newman.
English prop Liam McAvoy, who has been doing pre-season training with the Knights' NSW Cup squad, is another significant recruit for coach Todd Edwards.
If former Newcastle Knight, Canberra Raider and Wests Tiger Edwards does sign, the Goannas will also celebrate the return of three Cessnock juniors to the club along with former Knight Brayden Musgrove and NSW Country representative Robert Tuliatu from the UK.
Along with Maitland, Central and Kurri, Cessnock has been a big off-season mover in the player market after the loss of several players from last year's grand final squad, headed by retired forwards Brendan Hlad and Dan Metcalf and utility Paul Carter, who has joined Macquarie.
"We lost a fair few boys at the end of last year and we've had to recruit pretty aggressively," Edwards said.
"There's a really good feeling at the moment, I'm really happy with where we are at. The new boys have been great.
"I'm very happy at how we are building with the players we have retained and those we've recruited."
Cessnock v North Tamworth, Cessnock Sportsground, Saturday at 6pm