The Maitland Rugby Union Club has a long and prestigious history that started over 140 years ago, in 1877. Since its inception, the Club has gone through a number of changes – from Club name, playing colours and the playing fields – but the spirit and strength of the “Blacks” has always been present which reflects in the local presence and the on field performance.
The Senior Rugby Club in Maitland was formed in 1877 with Maitland wearing black and gold Guernseys and playing home games at the Albion Cricket ground at West Maitland. It was not until 1911 that Maitland entered the Newcastle competition and not long after, in 1916, won a premiership.
Area rugby teams abounded in the 1920s with teams such as East End, Morpeth and East Maitland. Sadly the 2nd World War brought an end to rugby in Maitland after the 1939 season. It wasn`t until 1948 that the Maitland Club re-emerged in the Alderton Cup, a second division competition with the home ground Lorn Park. This was the start of a long and uncertain road back to former glory. After winning the Alderton Cup in 1950, Maitland was promoted to First Grade from 1951 to 1955.
The disastrous floods of 1955 disrupted club rugby. In 1959 Maitland again returned to second division. Maitland fielded teams in the Presidents Cup competition in 1962, 1963 and 1964 before returning to first grade status with a highly talented team in 1965.
The establishment of Marcellin Juniors in 1967 had a profound effect on the senior club, providing many players of later premiership winning teams. The enthusiasm and new awareness had its rightful conclusion when in 1969 the club won the Newcastle Premiership. First Grade premierships were also won in 1974, 1976 and 1977. Since then many more premierships have followed in all grades as well as several Club Championships.
The Nineties also saw the continued success of Maitland Rugby. This was based on the strong commitment to promoting and fostering junior rugby and the development of the grounds and facilities at Marcellin Park.
In the 2000 season there were 197 registered juniors at Maitland. From under 8s through to under 18s, the strength of the juniors has reaped rewards through the number of players that have continued in to the current senior ranks, numbering 160 registered seniors and 80 Old Boys.
To accommodate this large and enthusiastic playing force, the Maitland club has been able to supply a premier playing arena in Marcellin Park. With the ongoing support of sponsors, the hard working effort of the Committee and the continued patronage from supporters. Marcellin Park has continued to grow and improve each year since Maitland Rugby moved from Lorn Park.
Club records reveal that on several occasions the senior club has been in danger of folding. The continuation of the club is a tribute to all that have carried on when times were hardest. The ultimate reward was the celebration of the clubs 100th anniversary dinner in 1977.
Today the club boasts four senior sides, a Colts (under 20’s) team, strong juniors and a spirit and reputation which is the envy of others throughout the Newcastle and Hunter regions.