MAITLAND produced an outstanding performance when it mattered most to cap off an impressive three-year period and claim the club's first Newcastle Rugby League premiership in over a decade.
The Pickers proved too strong across the park with slick attack and tough defence, running out 40-4 victors over Macquarie in the 2022 grand final at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
The win means the Pickers advance to the NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) President's Cup and take on Peter McDonald Premiership champions Forbes Magpies next Saturday at Parkes.
The Magpies will represent the western area after defeating Dubbo CYMS in the inaugural Peter McDonald Premiership decider earlier this month.
The bulk of the Pickers group have been together since 2020, winning a state President's Cup - a competition that featured both Dubbo CYMS and the Western Rams - and a Newcastle RL minor premiership amid the previous two COVID-impacted seasons.
September 11 was the culmination of all that according to Maitland coach Matt Lantry, who says he got a glimpse of what was in store for the decider at training earlier this week.
"It's an enjoyable experience winning competitions and it's hard to describe," Lantry said among the celebrations.
"There's a little bit of relief involved as well being three years in the making, finally getting an opportunity to do it and then performing the way we did.
"I thought we were pretty clinical. We had a really good week and managed the last month well only playing two games in four weeks which is the route anyone wants to take.
"But after Thursday night I got home and thought it was scary how well we trained. I knew they were on and the conditioning wouldn't worry us."
Pickers No.7 and former NRL star Brock Lamb scored 20 of his team's total on Sunday, crossing for a try when both Macquarie pair Royce Geoffrey and Liam Higgins were sin binned separately in each half.