Cessnock Goannas take on Wyong Roos in a top-of-the-table battle

Goannas in top-of-the-table battle

The Cessnock Goannas travel to the Central Coast on Sunday for a top of the table clash against the unbeaten Wyong Roos.

The Goannas smashed Central Newcastle 34-4 on Saturday to cement themselves a game clear in second spot and now face their biggest challenge of the season to date.

"It will be a good test for both of us. They are a quality team and we need to be at our best," Goannas coach Todd Edwards said looking forward to the top-two encounter.

"Again this is invaluable experience for our young blokes going forward."

Cessnock dominated the game, even scoring a try when they were reduced to 12 men when Harrison Spruce was sin-binned for 10 minutes.

Equally as important for coach Edwards was that the side did not concede any points while they were a man down.

"The defence is still a work in progress, we've done a fair bit of work on it this week as the boys weren't happy with how we finished last week against Lakes conceding a try straight after the break after leading 28-0," Edwards said.

"It's a very low-maintenance group, there are no egos here. We are just really enjoying the year."

Brayden Musgrove

Brayden Musgrove

Brayden Musgrove continued his excellent vein of form to be the Goannas' best along with young Harvey Neville and skipper Reed Hugo.

"Brayden was sensational and Harvey Neville was enormous. Reed Hugo was again very good on the right edge. Everyone was good to be honest," Edwards said.

Nick Newman played his first games in the halves for the Goannas and it allowed Connor Kirkwood to continue with his successful move to lock.

Edwards is hoping to have Newman available for the rest of the season and is looking for him and Kirkwood to cement their new roles in 2021.

"Nick Newman was tidy, it was tough on him in his first game, but he handled it well," he said.

"We're hoping he'll be available now for the rest of this year and next year.

"Nick's a kid who comes from the Knights 20s and Roosters 20s. I had him in a rep program in 2017, and in 2018 I had him at Lakes.

"He went to England in 2019 and played with Joel Edwards at Newcastle Thunder and he has come back to here for this year and next.

"It has allowed us to move Connor to 13. His two games at 13 have been very good.

"It's probably his position because he has got a great motor and it takes some of the responsibility off his shoulders and allows him to play the role.

"He is enjoying it, he is a strong boy, does a lot of work and is a great trainer.

"He has been position-hopping for a few years but I think we've found it."

Nick Lawrence failed to pull up from an ankle injury but should be fit to play against Wyong.

FIRST GRADE

Cessnock Goannas defeated Central 34-4. Tries: Ngangarra Barker, Seaton Reid, Brayden Musgrove, Josh Griffiths, Reed Hugo, Joe Barber; Goals: Seaton Reid 5.

RESERVE GRADE: Cessnock Goannas defeated by Central 34-6.

BLUES TAG: Cessnock Goannas defeated by Central 30-16