Former Maitland Picker Josh Griffiths narrowly missed out on scoring a hat-trick of tries as Cessnock ran out 40-0 winners against North Tamworth Bears in the opening round of the NSW Challenge Cup on Saturday night.
In his first game in Goannas colours Griffiths opened the scoring at the end of the first quarter when he dived on a kick millimetres from the dead ball line.
Heavy rain and boggy conditions made play difficult but Cessnock made the best of their chances with Brendan Williams scoring just before half-time to give the Goannas an 8-0 lead at half-time.
The Goannas big men took over control of the match in the third quarter providing a platform for the backs out wide.
Griffiths crossed for his second two minutes after the break. Jordan Schofield scored out wide and Harry O'Brien scored the try of the match beating Griffiths narrowly to the ball in a chase from a kick.
O'Brien kicked the Goannas first conversion to take the score to 22-0.
Cessnock completed the game with three more tries in the final-quarter for an eight-try to nil win.
Harrison Spruce, Hayden Bailey and Joe Barber all crossed for four-pointers and Will McGarry received plenty of cheers with three successful conversions from three kicks.