Todd Edwards described himself as a "proud old coach" this week and he had every reason to be.
The Cessnock mentor welcomed the naming of Goannas junior Brayden Musgrove to make his NRL debut for the Knights, just six months after helping the Coalfields club win the Newcastle Rugby League grand final.
And it came off the back of a narrow 24-22 victory over the Pickers, the other trophy holders from 2020 with the statewide President's Cup, at Maitland Sportsground on Saturday.
Edwards said he sent Musgrove a message on Tuesday night and looks forward to seeing him in action against the Sharks.
"Last year he was playing a reduced COVID competition for us and now he's on the big stage," Edwards said.
"Talent won't let him down and I hope he takes his chance. Having a local bloke like that make it through the system is great for the area."
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Making the weekend's result even sweeter for Edwards, the Goannas remain undefeated and sit on top of the competition ladder.
"It is very pleasing and if someone had of offered me three from three at the start of the season I would have taken it," he said.
Edwards was rapt in Cessnock's defensive efforts and praised the penalty goal kicked by five-eighth Adrian Davis from over halfway on the brink of the main break.
The Goannas may be without captain Reed Hugo, who injured his cheek bone following a head clash on the weekend, when they travel to meet Lakes at Cahill Oval on Saturday.
Cessnock halfback Gerome Burns left the field shortly after the same incident and was replaced by Liam Foran.
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