The fire to fulfill the club's potential and win the Newcastle Rugby League premiership is burning bright in the Maitland Pickers' newly crowned player of the year Sam Anderson.
Anderson described winning the award among so many talented teammates as a privilege, but the star forward's focus is still firmly fixed on team rather than individual goals.
"It was good season for me and the side, but obviously frustrating because you train your backside off, you do nearly the whole season and then go back to square one without a result," Anderson said this week while preparing for his wedding to partner Emily in Forster on Friday.
"We had a good year, but it would have been nice to win the comp like everyone thought we couldn't do the year before.
"The most frustrating thing was the year before we copped a lot of flack for having a crack down Sydney and we really wanted to win the Newcastle comp to pretty much stick it up a lot of people's backsides who thought we couldn't do it.
"But we'll get that crack this year. We've got a similar side to last year, a lot of the boys have stayed around so we'll get a chance this year to hopefully take that out."
Anderson took out the top award after winning the players' player awards last season.
He said he had always wanted to finish off his footy in Maitland and it helped to enjoy it more being part of such a successful side with quality players.
"It's been an enjoyable time for the family as well," he said.
"I stood up when I won the award and said that 'the 17 we have run out every week it is quite a privilege to be part of it because we've got a lot of blokes who have played NRL and even blokes who haven't like Alex Langbridge, who would slot into any NRL side and play No. 9 comfortably'."
Anderson believes that platform laid by coach Matt Lantry and the club's administration headed by president Frank Lawler would ensure long-term success for the Pickers.
"We've got a big local junior base and we're just getting stronger. I think you would have seen that with winning the club championship this year which means you've got a pretty strong club which is good for the whole Maitland area," he said.
"Everyone who said we went out a bought a comp, they are living in glass houses. You look who Kurri bought, South Newcastle, Cessnock went out and bought as many as they could.
"Essentially we introduced a lot of local blokes who came in a did a great job. Tommy Cant was a stand out he got the rookie of the year. There's blokes like Taj Ridley who are coming through, just to name a couple.
"There's also a large contingent who are local juniors, Matt Soper-Lawler, Brock Lamb they've gone on to play rep footy and NRL but they're still local juniors like myself.
"Anyone who wants to say we went and bought a comp are jealous because they can't do the same thing."
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