PARTY TIME: Rutherford Football Club president Michael Waeger with (from left) Ryan Bolam, Ryan Hodges, Brock Boyd, Sam Cauchi and (front) Harry Waeger.These juniors represent the latest crop of footballers from the western suburbs of Maitland.

Ryan Bolam, Ryan Hodges, Brock Boyd, Sam Cauchi and Harry Waeger are some of the hundreds who call Norm Chapman Oval home on a Saturday morning throughout the winter months.

The Saturday morning games have been a fixture in the area since 1967 when the Rutherford Football Club formed, with young boys and girls testing their wares in the green and white uniform.

The main difference being, 45 years on from Harry Hethrington’s first team, numbers are at an all-time high.

“The last couple of years has seen a big growth,” club secretary Kylie Parsons said.

There are nearly 550 registered members of the club about a decade on from a merger between the junior (Dragons) and senior (Rams) clubs.

Of the 42 Rutherford teams 37 are junior ones and many are part of the Football Federation Australia-backed small-sided games. More than 350 families, including president Michael Waeger’s, are involved at the club.

And a recent venture online, an addition of a club website, has reported more than 110,000 hits in four months.

To mark the occasion the club will hold an anniversary disco at Maitland City Bowls, Sports and Recreation Club on Saturday night followed by a dinner on August 4 at the same venue.

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