NEWCASTLE City captain-coach Mitch Knight said there were "pleasing signs" but remained a "bit disappointed" two-time defending champions Terrigal Avoca kicked away in the second half of Saturday's grand final replay.
The Blues (9.9-63) went down to the Panthers (15.10-100) at Hawkins Oval in round one of the men's Black Diamond Cup competition for 2021, having led during the first two quarters and being level at the main break.
"We were probably a bit disappointed, from the position we were in halfway through the second quarter, to let it get away," Knight said.
"It was probably conceding goals late in the second and third quarters that hurt us the most. But there were some really pleasing signs and for a lot of guys it was their first hit out after a year off. And from last year's grand final there were 11 new faces."
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It was 40-all at half-time. Terrigal won the second stanza 60-23. City recruit Keegan Mason kicked three goals. Panthers pair Michael Roach and Jason Roach both landed four majors.
Also in season openers on Saturday, both Cardiff (25.21-171) and Warners Bay (21.15-141) notched up centuries breezing past Nelson Bay (2.2-14) and Maitland (4.5-29) respectively.
Brandon Lloyd kicked five goals for Killarney Vale (15.13-103) against Gosford (9.9-63) at Adelaide Street Oval. Singleton had the bye.
In the women's Black Diamond Cup and Cardiff (24.12-156) made it a club double by accounting for newcomers Lake Macquarie (1.0-6) with Minerva Bailey booting seven majors.
Title holders City (14.9-93) beat Terrigal Avoca (2.2-14) and Maitland (7.8-50) overcame Warners Bay (6.1-37). Killarney Vale and Wyong Lakes had byes.
MEN'S LADDER: Cardiff, Warners Bay, Killarney Vale, Terrigal Avoca 4; City, Gosford, Maitland, Nelson Bay, Singleton 0.
WOMEN'S LADDER: Cardiff, City, Maitland 4; Warners Bay, Terrigal Avoca, Lake Macquarie, Wyong Lakes, Killarney Vale 0.
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