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REAL NRL SEASON REVIEW: Goannas made their presence felt in 2023

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CESSNOCK GOANNAS

  • Coach: Harry Siejka
  • 2023 finish: 3rd
  • Wins: 11
  • Losses: 4
  • Draws: 1
Brayden Musgrove leaps above the pack during the 2023 season. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Summary: If there was ever a side to push for a title in 2023, it was Cessnock. The Goannas boasted a strong pack of forwards, a brilliant hooker in Luke Huth, crafty halves and some outstanding backs in the shape of Brayden Musgrove, Honeti Tuha and Tony Pellow. But, again, injuries curtailed captain-coach Harry Siejka’s outfit at the most inopportune times.

Honeti Tuha found the tryline on numerous occasions. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Despite that, the team still locked down third spot on the table, thanks to a fabulous start to the season (Cessnock was undefeated after eight rounds), and managed to inflict the only defeat on Maitland (20-12) in April. The Goannas also accounted for grand finalists South Newcastle (52-12) and Wyong (24-16). Sadly, by the beginning of the play-offs, a long campaign appeared to take its toll on the squad. Even though Cessnock eliminated The Entrance, it fell victim to the Lions a week later in the prelim final. Will be hard to beat again in 2024.

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