CESSNOCK coach Todd Edwards has backed star signings Riley Brown and Terence Seu Seu to represent the Newcastle Rebels and NSW Country this season if they make themselves available.
In only two matches the former Knights players have made an immediate impact in the Newcastle Rugby League.
Country hooker Mitch Williams has left Wyong to join the Knights NSW Cup squad, opening the door for Seu Seu.
Last year’s five-eighth, Chad Sharp, has been moved to the centres for the Roos, which should increase Brown’s chances of playing representative rugby league.
‘‘I’d assume they would be pretty close to being there. With Mitch playing for the Knights, I’d assume Terence would have to go pretty close to being there,’’ Edwards said.
‘‘I’m expecting to lose a few boys around rep time.’’
Brown joined Cessnock from the Gold Coast Titans, and Seu Seu was part of Manly’s NRL premiership-winning organisation.
Edwards said the classy duo’s influence had been immense.
‘‘Both players demand a lot, not just in games but at training,’’ he said.
‘‘A lot of their stuff is rubbing off, which is exactly what I wanted. They’re doing extras and not cutting corners.
‘‘Instead of it coming from me, it’s coming from them.
‘‘Both blokes have played a lot of footy at a high level and our blokes are learning from them what it takes.’’
The Goannas have been the premiership favourites with most pundits due to the roster Edwards has assembled.
The Coalfields club backed up that favouritism by belting Lakes 58-12 and Port Stephens 60-8 in the opening two rounds. Their first stern test will come today when they host Wyong at Cessnock.
Wyong have lost plenty of their creative spark with Williams and Josh Mantellato joining the Knights, but they still boast quality in Jamie Davis, Sharp and Jay Florimo.
‘‘Obviously the group is pretty strong on paper, but we’re still not where we want to be and the boys know that,’’ Edwards said.
‘‘We’re struggling with patience with the footy, but once we get that we should be going even better.’’
Cessnock were expected to have hooker Chris Adams return for a one-off match due to the Knights NSW Cup side having the bye but Adams was ruled out with a bulging disc.