Before a ball was kicked in anger this season, Cessnock Goannas coach Todd Edwards predicted Brayden Musgrove boasted “all the qualities to succeed in the NRL”.
After mentoring the youngster in the side’s Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real) premiership victory over South Newcastle Lions in the 2020 decider, Edwards was confident the gifted centre would grab any chance, which came his way.
And, that’s exactly what Musgrove did when he made his debut for the Newcastle Knights in the outfit’s thrilling 26-22 triumph, at the expense of the Cronulla Sharks, at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night (16 April).
A late Kalyn Ponga try, with three minutes left on the clock, ended the team’s three-game losing streak in a nail-biter.
Musgrove, who started 2020 with the Manly Sea Eagles, returned to the Goannas and caught the eye – for the second time – of Newcastle, the organisation where the 22-year-old started his rugby league journey, aged 15, in the Harold Matthews Cup.
“He’s a good player, mate,” Edwards told the Newcastle Weekly in February.
“Brayden was floating around Manly; however he ended up here again.
“But, he’s always been above average.
“He showed that last year in our competition just how good he is.
“Physically, Brayden has the right attributes.
“He’s an athlete, a big, tall kid. If he gets his opportunity (in the NRL), I’m sure he’ll take it.”
Musgrove, who replaced Starford To’a on the wing, became the 324th player to don the famous “blue, red and white” jumper.
“Growing up in the area playing footy, it’s always something you dream about doing,” he said after the match.
“It’s special now to say I’ve done that.
“And, to get the win tops it all off.
“It was surreal running out [on McDonald Jones Stadium].
“It’s all a bit of a blur – I can’t really remember much of the game.
“But, it was a good effort by the boys [tonight].
“It was a tough win, which I hope we can build on moving forward.”
Musgrove will remain a Knight until at least the end of 2022.