Local juniors Brodie Jones and Brayden Musgrove will face their former team-mates when the Newcastle Knights tackle the Goannas in a trial at the Cessnock Sports Ground this weekend.
The pair has fond memories of their time at the club, with the latter enjoying premiership success with the outfit over the South Newcastle Lions in last year’s Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) decider.
Musgrove recently signed a two-year contract with the Knights – and Saturday 20 February’s showdown will be his first appearance in Newcastle colours since putting pen to paper in the off-season.
Jack Johns, the son of Cessnock legend Matthew Johns and nephew of Eighth Immortal Andrew Johns, and another recruit Dominic Young are slated to debut in the “red and blue”, too.
Plenty of other NRL hopefuls will also see some game time after sweating it out in a brutal summer campaign.
But, one man hoping to derail the young Knights’ aspirations is Goannas coach Todd Edwards.
“We’re looking forward to the clash,” he told the Newcastle Weekly recently.
“It’s good for our kids to face them [Newcastle] at home.
“We’re going to be underdone – we know that.
“The Knights have been training 4-5 days a week, since before Christmas, so our boys are a little bit behind that.
“However, you never know how you’ll go until you run onto the paddock.
“There are a few boys [here] that might turn a couple heads as well.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for some of the local guys to show what they’re capable of.”
After a week’s rest, the Goannas will lock horns with the Macquarie Scorpions at Lyall Peacock Oval, Toronto, before meeting the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs in their regular Charity Shield encounter on 13 March.
Saturday’s match is part of FanFest, with gates opening at 11am.
Newcastle Knights: 1. Mackenzie Baker, 2. Jacob Kiraz, 3. Brayden Musgrove, 4. Dylan Lucas, 5. Dom Young, 6. Hayden Loughrey, 7. Kobe Davis, 8. Pasami Saulo, 9. Mitch Black, 10. Garrett Smith, 11. Jaron Purcell, 12. Brodie Jones, 13. Jack Johns. Interchange: 14. Luke Huth, 15. Christian Ma’anaima, 16. Mat Croker, 17. John Tolofea
Extended squad: 18. Zac Hosking, 19. Dan Ticehurst, 20. Blake Campbell, 21. Harvey Neville, 22. Matt Soper-Lawler, 23. Ben Talty, 24. Liam Wilkinson, 25. Harry Croker, 26. Harry van Dartel, 27. Sione Tuitupou-Kutu, 28. Henry Penn, 29. Jesse Cronin, 30. Tyler Coburn, 31. Blake Lenehan
Game day –
Saturday 20 February at Cessnock Sports Ground
- 11am: Gates open
- 11am: Harold Matthews Cup v Penrith Panthers
- 12.30pm: SG Ball Cup v Penrith Panthers
- 1.30pm: Knights membership and merchandise marquee open
- 2pm: NRL open training sessions
- 4pm: Meet the 2021 NRL squad
- 6pm: Newcastle Knights v Cessnock Goannas