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PONGA BECOMES YOUNGEST WINNER OF PLAYERS CHAMPION AWARD

He’s already won the Danny Buderus Medal at the Knights, now Kalyn Ponga has become the youngest ever recipient of the Rugby League Players’ Association’s, Players’ Champion award. The 20-year-old follows in the footsteps of several legends, including Buderus, who won the prize in 2004, and Johnathan Thurston, who claimed it four times. Fittingly his former Cowboys team mate presented Ponga with the trophy last night. “I’m pretty nervous for this award, I don’t usually get nervous but as Johnno touched on it’s pretty huge so yeah I didn’t expect this at all.”

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URGENT RECALL OF STRAWBERRIES SABOTAGED WITH SEWING NEEDLES

There’s an urgent, nationwide recall of Woolworths strawberries. This is a picture of a berry that’s been sabotaged with a sewing needle. Police believe needles have been deliberately planted in some punnets, to cause serious harm, and they have. On Sunday night, a 21- year-old Queensland man was hospitalised after swallowing a strawberry, containing part of a needle. Last night two further victims have come forward. Anyone who has bought strawberries with that branding, anytime since early last week, is urged to dispose of them immediately.

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NEXT STEP IN MOVING LIGHT RAIL CARS ON TO TRACK

Preparations are underway to move Newcastle’s new light rail car from the dockside to the inner city. A loading ramp has been built to receive the tram which will then be slotted into place on the rails and slowly shunted into place in the soon to be opened Newcastle West stabling shed. The operation to deliver tram from Carrington begins late tonight and is expected to continue into the early hours of tomorrow morning, marking one year since construction commenced.

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GAV’S WEATHER: HOT AND DRY START TO SPRING

Warm and mostly sunny conditions on the way for the North West tomorrow, while we can expect afternoon seabreezes along the coast. The only weather feature of note is a front passing over South Australia, which in turn is driving strong north westerly winds. The mid latitudes are dominated by powerful high pressure systems. Expect the dry and hot spring weather to continue for the rest of the week.

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ELDERLY PAIR TAKEN TO HOSPITAL AFTER CENTRAL COAST CRASH

Two people aged in their 70s have been taken to hospital, after the car they were travelling in left the road and hit a house on the Central Coast. Emergency services were alerted to the crash on Main Road at Toukley at around 9:30 this morning. It’s understood the car had veered onto the wrong side of the road, hit two parked cars, coming to rest under a verandah, which then collapsed on the vehicle. The male driver was taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition, while his female passenger was transported to hospital as a precaution. The residents of the home escaped uninjured.

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MID NORTH COAST PRISON ESCAPEE ARRESTED IN QUEENSLAND

A 35-year-old man, who last week escaped from a Mid North Coast correctional facility, has been arrested in Queensland. He was one of two men who escaped the Kempsey facility on Friday, with Queensland Police making the arrest as part of an investigation into a home invasion in Brisbane’s North. The man was charged with numerous offences, and is expected to be extradited once those matters are finalised. Meanwhile, police are continuing their search for the second man, Kurt Reynolds. 40-year-old Reynolds is described as being of Caucasian appearance, around 187cm tall with a large build, and short brown hair. He was last seen travelling in a stolen black 2005 Toyota Camry Sportivo sedan, with NSW registration plates JM677. Anyone who comes across Mr Reynolds is urged to call Triple Zero.

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