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Newcastle Rebels pick the best of Maitland

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Not too many people were surprised when the Maitland Pickers dominated the Newcastle Rebels’ squad for the upcoming Tri Series.

Given the Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) club’s dominance in recent seasons, it was almost guaranteed.

But, the facts are there for all to see.

In 2020, the Pickers claimed the President’s Cup in a COVID-affected year and backed up 12 months later to secure the Real NRL minor premiership before the pandemic forced the play-offs to be abandoned.

And, in 2020, Maitland sits atop the ladder, unbeaten after six rounds.

Now, Gary Anderson, Cal Burgess, Jayden Butterfield, Chad O’Donnell, Matt Soper-Lawler and James Taylor will tackle the might of Canberra in the nation’s capital on Saturday 14 May.

“We’re very happy for all the boys in there,” Pickers’ president Frank Lawler said.

“The selectors have named a strong outfit and guys who want to play rep footy.

“That’s really important.

“I know our blokes are keen to be involved.

“It’s also a just reward for the past couple of seasons.

“I think we’ve probably been a consistent team going into our third year now.

“The players have maintained that dependability, too.

“So, they all deserve their spots.”

Lawler admitted Maitland’s success could flow through to the new-look Rebels who, now under the guidance of former Newcastle Knight Daniel Abraham, monstered both Illawarra and Canberra in 2021.

“They bring combinations to the squad – that’s a big thing,” he said.

“On the left-hand side, they’ve got Chad and Matt together.

“Buttsy and Jimmy are two good middles, who work well.

“Then, Gaz and Cal complement each other, too.

“That’s crucial in these types of sides with limited preparation.”

The Pickers are not only hailing the first grade sextet, but two of the organisation’s young guns – Ethan Butterfield and Jackson Shade – who were chosen in the under-20 line-up.

“Overall, it’s a good representation for the club and it’s great for the guys,” Lawler told the Newcastle Weekly.

“Don’t forget, Brock Lamb, Alex and Daniel Langbridge were all unavailable as well – they’re another three who deserve to be there.

“However, for the guys picked, it can open the doors, potentially, to be noticed by the Knights or other NRL organisations.

“I’m sure someone like Garth Brennan is keeping a close eye on these games – and Newcastle Rugby League in general.

“But, for the time being, it’s a chance to step up in the rep arena.

“So, it’ll be good for them.

“We’re very proud of the boys.”

The Pickers, on the back of their last-start 39-16 victory over the Cessnock Goannas, tackle the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs on Saturday, while the Wyong Roos host the Goannas at Morry Breen Oval, the Western Suburbs Rosellas lock horns with The Entrance Tigers and the Lakes United Seagulls face the South Newcastle Lions.

Then, on 8 May, the Central Newcastle Butcher Boys go head-to-head with the Macquarie Scorpions in the match of the round.

Newcastle Rebels representative squads

  • Seniors (coach Daniel Abraham): Cameron Anderson (Central Newcastle Butcher Boys), Gary Anderson (Maitland Pickers), Cal Burgess (Maitland Pickers), Jayden Butterfield (Maitland Pickers), Matt Cooper (Lakes United Seagulls), Ryan Glanville (South Newcastle Lions), Lewis Hamilton (South Newcastle Lions), Luke Higgins (Macquarie Scorpions), Anthony Meleisea-Murray (Cessnock Goannas), Matt Moon (Macquarie Scorpions), Harry O’Brien (Cessnock Goannas), Chad O’Donnell (Maitland Pickers), Jake O’Meley (Lakes United Seagulls), Nick Ritter (Central Newcastle Butcher Boys), Bayden Searle (Macquarie Scorpions), Matt Soper-Lawler (Maitland Pickers), James Taylor (Maitland Pickers), Jack Welsh (South Newcastle Lions), Joe Woodbury (Macquarie Scorpions), Jayden Young (Cessnock Goannas)
  • Under-20s (coach Scott Robinson): Kain Anderson (Central Newcastle Butcher Boys), Macauley Aoake (Western Suburbs Rosellas), Jhett Butler (South Newcastle Lions), Ethan Butterfield (Maitland Pickers), Hunter Dever (Kurri Kurri Bulldogs), Sam Fechner (Kurri Kurri Bulldogs), Reegan Glover (Lakes United Seagulls), Aden Jenkins (Northern Hawks), Logan Jones (South Newcastle Lions), Fletch Kennedy (Central Newcastle Butcher Boys), Takarei Kuru (South Newcastle Lions), Brody Linnane (Kurri Kurri Bulldogs), Tyrone Nean (Cessnock Goannas), Isaiah Olsen (Western Suburbs Rosellas), Hayden Regan (Cessnock Goannas), Sam Robinson (Central Newcastle Butcher Boys), Jackson Shade (Maitland Pickers), Jack Smith (Western Suburbs Rosellas), Aidan Storrie (Western Suburbs Rosellas), Jordan Wilson (Western Suburbs Rosellas)

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL)

Denton Engineering Cup

Round six results:

  • Central Newcastle Butcher Boys d The Entrance Tigers 16-12
  • South Newcastle Lions d Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 19-6
  • Maitland Pickers d Cessnock Goannas 39-16
  • Wyong Roos d Western Suburbs Rosellas 22-2
  • Macquarie Scorpions d Lakes United Seagulls 14-4

Round seven draw:

Saturday 7 May –

  • 3pm: Wyong Roos v Cessnock Goannas (Morry Breen Oval)
  • 3pm: Western Suburbs Rosellas v The Entrance Tigers (Harker Oval)
  • 3pm: Lakes United Seagulls v South Newcastle Lions (Cahill Oval)
  • 3pm: Kurri Kurri Bulldogs v Maitland Pickers (Kurri Kurri Sports Ground)

Sunday 8 May –

  • 3pm: Central Newcastle Butcher Boys v Macquarie Scorpions (St John Oval)

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