UNLIKE most of his teammates, Reid Alchin wasn't part of Maitland's previous President's Cup campaign in 2020.
The second-rower only joined the Pickers this season, coming across from neighbouring club Kurri Kurri.
Although initially a difficult decision, Alchin has reaped the rewards and scored a double in last weekend's Newcastle Rugby League grand-final victory.
Maitland coach Matt Lantry says Alchin continued to build confidence throughout 2022 and expects more of the same against Western Premiership winners Forbes in Parkes on Saturday.
"I'm really happy for Reid and he deserves every accolade he gets," Lantry told the Newcastle Herald.
"He took a punt, made a really tough decision to walk away from a club close to his heart and has now reaped the rewards of joining the team he did.
"You could just Reid building this season week to week. It took a bit of time for him to find his feet and we took a bit of time get used to the way he played as well.
"Over the last two months Reid's performance level went from strength to strength, really evident in our last two games.
"He was tremendous for us in the major semi-final and equally as good, if not better, on grand final day with two tries in the second half."
Alchin powered over for back-to-back four pointers on the left edge against Macquarie at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday, producing a hit and spin around 20 metres out in the 43rd minute and making it 22-4 closer to the hour mark.
Lantry also pointed out the efforts of fellow Maitland back-rower Lincoln Smith, who did similar damage on the other side of the field during the 40-4 title win.
"Look at Lincoln Smith, he's been awesome for us as well," Lantry said.
"He's struggled with injury but comes out and makes two clean line breaks to set up Brock Lamb in almost replica plays."
The Pickers have won eight straight, featuring two play-offs, and Lantry says "I've really liked our blue print over the month".
Having won a premiership less than a week ago and travelling over five hours by bus, Lantry says the next challenge is as much mental as it is physical.
"Obviously it's not the best preparation being a six-day turnaround and celebrations didn't finish until late Monday night," Lantry said.
Maitland fullback Daniel Langbridge (back) will start from the bench causing a backline slide with Matt Soper-Lawler wearing the No.1 jersey, James Bradley going to centre and Perry Le Brocque called up on the wing.
Play at Jack Colley Field gets underway at 1:30pm while in Saturday's other President's Cup semi Collegians (Illawarra) host Hills Bulls (Ron Massey Cup).
MAITLAND: Matt Soper-Lawler, Will Nieuwenhuise, James Bradley, Gary Anderson, Perry Le Brocque, Chad O'Donnell, Brock Lamb, Jayden Butterfield, Alex Langbridge, James Taylor, Reid Alchin, Lincoln Smith, Sam Anderson, Daniel Langbridge, Peter Wilson, Faitotoa Faitotoa, Pat Mata'utia, Harrison Spruce.