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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Musgrove, Goannas to lock horns in trial?

Brayden Musgrove knows every blade of grass at the Cessnock Sports Ground.

But, unfortunately for hometown fans, he won’t be donning a Goannas’ jumper there in less than a fortnight’s time.

It’s more likely he’ll run onto the field with his new club after recently signing a two-year contract with the Newcastle Knights.

The Hunter-based NRL powerhouse’s NSW Cup outfit will tackle the 2020 Newcastle Rugby League premiers Cessnock in a highly-anticipated trial match on Saturday 20 February.

And, Musgrove is tipped to face his mentor from last year, Todd Edwards.

“We’re looking forward to the clash,” the respected Goannas stalwart said.

“I’m hearing [opposing coach] Adam O’Brien’s going to play a few of the NRL guys in the game, possibly Brayden.

“That’ll be interesting.

“However, 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.

“But, you never know how you’ll go until you run onto the paddock.”

Cessnock Goannas trainer Mark Wilton and head coach Todd Edwards.

Edwards is also planning a surprise or two for Cessnock’s more illustrious rivals.

“I think the Knights’ blokes could get a bit of a shock,” he said.

“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.”

It is a terrific lead-in to the Newcastle Rugby League season, too, for the defending champions, who accounted for South Newcastle 20-6 in the 2020 decider.

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 Saturday, March 13.

“That’s an annual fixture both clubs are keen to win,” Edwards said.

“Then we’ll have another week off to prepare for our first round showdown with Souths [at Cessnock Sports Ground] on Saturday 27 March.

“From there, it’s all systems go until the play-offs.”

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