Maitland Blacks 1998 premiership teams celebrate 20th anniversary reuntion

The Maitland Blacks celebrate the 20th anniversary of their landmark 1998 premiership and club championship season on Saturday when they host their great rivals from the 1990s Singleton.

The history making 1998 Blacks won the first grade, second grade and third grade titles as well as the club championship, the first team to achieve the feat.

For good measure the Blacks repeated the feat in 1999, with all four grades minor premiers, unfortunately  fourth grade were beaten grand finalists.

“It was an incredible time. It’s hard to believe it was 20 years ago,” Dan Gollan who scored the winning try in first grade in 1998 and was a member of the 1999 second grade premiership team and the losing 1997 first grade grand final side against Singleton.

“Maitland and Singleton dominated the competition in the 1990s. They won eight first grade premierships between the two clubs.

“In addition to 1998-99 we won in 1991 and 1994. Singleton won in 1992 and then three in a row in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

“They beat us in 1997 and we beat them in the 1991 and 1994 grand finals.

“There’ll be a cast of hundreds there on Saturday and lots of great memories.”

The rivalry continues to this day with the two teams playing for the Sarroff-Gresham trophy, which Maitland has held for the past eight years.

“We’ve held it since 2008 and hopefully we’ll keep it another year, but Singleton are a much tougher proposition this year after a few lean years,” Maitland Blacks president Pat Howard, who played in the 1999 third grade premiership team, said.

Brendan Sarroff was on hand at Marcellin Park on Thurdsayd as the Sarroff-Gresham trophy was taken from the wall in preparation for Saturday’s game. 

Sarroff said he was keen for Maitland to hold on to the Sarroff-Gresham trophy but it was great to see Singleton fielding a  strong team again.