Western has suffered its worst defeat of the 2020 Presidents Cup, with tournament favourites the Maitland Pickers running in 10 tries to one in a 58-4 win on Saturday.
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Brock Lamb produced a personal tally of 22 points and halves partner Chad O'Donnell scored a hat-trick, but despite ladder leaders Maitland continuing their perfect record they now face a tough month ahead against fellow title contenders.
Coming off the bye the Pickers beat the winless Western Rams 58-4 at Maitland Sportsground on Saturday, making it four from four at the midway point of the statewide campaign before meeting the Thirroul Butchers, Wests Illawarra, North Sydney Bears and Glebe Burwood.
The Newcastle club (10 points) is still the competition frontrunner, however, all of those sides (8) sit just one win behind them and remain in contention for the top-four finals series next month, which culminates in a decider at Bankwest Stadium on September 27.
"It's going to be a big month for us," Pickers captain Alex Langbridge said.
"We're going to know where we are at the end of that."
Langbridge praised the round-five performances of both Lamb, who crossed for the opening try and kicked nine conversions from 10 attempts, and O'Donnell.
"They were outstanding," the Maitland hooker said.
"Lamby is just a class above and you can tell he's an NRL player. Chady was really good as well, it was probably his best game this year."
The Pickers led 34-4 at half-time and didn't concede a point outside a 12th minute try to Rams second-rower Bailey Hartwig.
The Rams will take on Wentworthville, the only other side without a win this season, at Mudgee next weekend.
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