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Maitland has had a proud Rugby League history since before World War I but it wasn’t until a merger of the old East Maitland-Morpeth and Maitland City clubs in 1955 that the Maitland Pickers were born.

The Pickers will host an elimination semi-final against the Hills District Bulls in their Presidents Cup match at Maitland Sportsground on Saturday. The winner will move through to the Grand Final where they face either Glebe-Burwood Wolves or the North Sydney Bears.

After forming in 1955, the new boys found immediate success in the 1950s under Australian winger Don “Bandy” Adams and made five successive Grand Finals, including premiership wins from 1956-58.

They replicated that success a decade later, with local stars such as Terry Pannowitz and Brian Burke at heart of the team that claimed titles in 1969, 1971 and 1973.

Another local hero, Robert Finch, returned home after his Sydney career to spearhead their next success in 1983 but they faced a long wait after that with their next titles not arriving until 2010-11.

The club has produced a crop of NRL players headlined by Greg Bird, Chris Houston, Luke Dorn, Ryan Stig and current Pickers captain Brock Lamb.