Maitland continued their dominance of the President's Cup competition on Sunday defeating St Mary's 32-10 to win their third straight title.
The Newcastle Rugby League champions were too good for St Mary's at Commbank Stadium. The highly-rated Saints were dominant Ron Massey Cup winners but despite a mini second-half comeback were no match for Maitland.
The win cements the Pickers as the dominant semi-professional team in NSW after winning the competition in 2020 and 2022 (2021 competition was cancelled).
Maitland couldn't have asked for a better start on Sunday morning with a try inside the first minute. Pickers five-eighth Chad O'Donnell sent up a kick which the Saints let bounce with centre Matt Soper-Lawler on the spot to gather the ball and run 20 metres to the try line.
Despite neither team playing a match in three weeks, both teams looked sharp especially in defence with a number of huge hits dished out.
Just like in the Newcastle Rugby League grand final, Brock Lamb was pulling the strings for Maitland. Gary Anderson was on the end of a perfectly weighted Lamb grubber kick for the Pickers second try in the 16th minute.
Captain Alex Langbridge was also in fine form, consistently challenging the Saints defence with his ball playing out of dummy half.
The hooker engaged the St Mary's defence in the 23rd minute, providing space for Lamb to thread another kick in behind for back rower Lincoln Smith to score. Lamb kicked the conversion, Maitland leading 18-0.
O'Donnell added a penalty goal just before half-time to take the lead out to 20-0 and importantly, beyond three converted tries.
St Mary's started the second-half with more intent and dominated field position. After 10 minutes of sustained pressure Saints winger Christian Crichton crossed in the 54th minute despite claims of a forward pass in the build up. Maitland leading 20-4.
St Mary's dropped the ball from the resumption and a bullocking run from Gary Anderson set up up try for Maitland winger James Bradley in the 61st minute. Lamb kicked the conversion from the sideline for the Pickers to lead 26-4.
Bradley was back in the action soon after. Maitland shifted the ball to the right through Lamb and fullback Daniel Langbridge with Bradley racing 30 metres down the right touchline to score. Lamb added the extras, the Pickers leading 32-4.
Saints five-eighth Todd Sapienza crossed for a consolation try in the 76th minute. Lamb finishing with five from five conversions for Maitland.
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