The Maitland Pickers represents a proud heritage of past Teams initially established in 1927. The current Pickers continue this legacy with a commitment to ensure Maitland remains one of the most well known Rugby League Towns in Country Rugby League. The Pumpkin Picker emblem remains at the fore front of a Club representing one of the largest Junior nurserys in Australia. This Junior nursery as well as the Clubs proud History and knowledge of representing one of the fastest growing communities in NSW requires an ongoing commitment and level of professionalism by all stakeholders to ensure the long term viability of this proud Club.
The Pumpkin Pickers birth in 1943 from the merging of Maitland United (who won premierships in 1933 and 1934) and Morpeth/East Maitland. The term Pumpkin Pickers started as a sarcastic reference to players bringing produce to sell at the markets, when they travelled by train to Newcastle. Thus a “History of working class men turning a term of derision into a badge of honour was born.
An era of dominance prevailed when Maitland played in seven consecutive Grand Finals from 1954-1960. Winning a hat trick of titles from 1956-1958 and were runner up in three. Cesnock defeated Maitland in 1954 and 1955 when floods ravaged the Town.
Maitland wasn’t away from premiership success for long going down in 1965 before returning to glory in 1969 where they went on a run in the early 70’s led by one of Maitland’s finest Terry Pannowitz winning 2 further premierships. Robert Finch captured the hearts of the Maitland community leading the team to the title in 1983. It would be 27 years before Maitland tasted premiership success again Lled by President John Thomas leading the club back from the brink to win back to back titles in 2010 and 2011. A Covid 19 interrupted year in 2020 saw Maitlands first grade team take on the might of the Sydney competition winning the clubs first ever State title in a heart stopper 17 – 16 over Glebe Burwood Wolves at Bankwest Stadium.
The Pickers unveiled their top 20 players of all time featuring six Australian representatives, three Maitland premiership-winning captains and a countless number of grand final victories spread over almost a century of rugby league history in the city helped make up a star-studded list of individuals to represent the Pickers’ best.
Don ‘Bandy’ Adams, John Graves, Jim Morgan, Terry Pannowitz, Noel Pidding and David Trewhella were the Australian representatives leading the list, with NSW pair Brian Burke and Gary Collins not far behind. Pannowitz (1965, 1969, 1971, 1973) doubled as one of three premiership-winning captains to get the nod alongside Robert Finch (1983) and PJ Ellis (2011). Multiple premiership-winning Maitland captain-coaches Paddy Maher (1933-1934) and Fred Brown (1956-1958) were named as co-coaches of the side
The 1960s and 1970s were heavily represented with the likes of Max Bailey, Warren Bell, Max McMahon, Ray Wawskzowicz and Merv Wright among familiar faces. From the 1950s were centre-wing pairing Frank Threlfo and Billy Callinan, as well as Gordon Harley, the uncompromising forward from Dungog. Another tough prop in the shape of Morpeth’s Milton Burrows earned selection from the 1983 decider, as did NSW Residents player Brett Christiansen, who flew the flag for the 1990s.
2020 * NSWRL Presidents Cup, 2021 * Minor Premiership and Club Championship.