Maitland Pickers stormed back into form with a 40-1 drubbing of Lakes United at Coronation Oval on Saturday.
In an outstanding effort Pickers’ Newcastle Rebels representatives Jarrod and Lincoln Smith backed up after their 50-18 win against North Coast to play large minutes in the second half.
Only a last-minute field goal by the Seagulls prevented a whitewash, as the Pickers answered their critics in emphatic fashion after last week’s 40-4 drubbing by Kurri Kurri.
Maitland made a raft of changes to their team through injuries, absences for Rebels representative duties and form, with star fullback Luke Dorn switching to halfback to try to inject energy and direction into the attack.
The move payed dividends and Dorn was outstanding, creating opportunities and marshalling the troops in defence.
Josh Papworth is his first grade game for the Pickers was players’ player after an enormous effort in the front row in both attack and defence.
Papworth came on earlier than expected after Rob Mason suffered a leg injury only moments after he was rotated from the bench. He played the remainder of the game.
Pickers coach Trevor Ott said Papworth’s performance was enormous and he was delighted that he had taken his chance.
Ott was also full of praise for new centre partnering Trent Papa and Jayden Hocking who were solid in defence and also looked dangerous whenever they had the ball.
Second-rower Tylar Carter continually put the Lakes defence on the back foot with powerful runs and capped off his effort scoring a double.
“Jacob Sinclair was tremendous with his defence, he really was a rock and putting in so much work to support his teammates,” he said.
“The players I expected to stand up and deliver after last week’s drubbing did. Blokes like Dorny, Jacob, Dane Tilse, Tylar Carter and Jarrod Smith and Lincoln Smith backing up was incredible.
“But the players we brought in and the rest of the team stood up as well. We scored plenty of points, but this was a win very much based on defence.”
The Pickers have been guilty of giving up big half-time leads through error-ridden starts to games, but were able to take a 12-0 lead into half-time, before running over the top of Lakes in the final half.
- Full report to come