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Samuel Djodan

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Samuel is a news and sports reporter for the Central Coast and Newcastle. He began working for NBN News in 2014.

MEDINA CLOSES IN ON SURFING WORLD TITLE

Brazil’s Gabriel Medina has one hand on surfing’s world title after another dominant day at the latest event in Portugal. Close friend and football superstar Neymar was in his corner, but Medina was given a fright by Newcastle wildcard Ryan Callinan – who led for most of their round three match-up, before being penalised for interference when the pair became tangled up paddling for a wave. World number two Filipe Toledo was a shock casualty overnight, meaning if Medina wins the event, and Aussie Julian Wilson fails to reach the semi-finals, the title will be his. Otherwise it’ll be decided at Hawaii’s famed Pipeline. (VISION ONLY)

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BRITT ECKERSTROM RETURNS FOR THE JETS

The Jets’ W-League squad is now complete, with the return of goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom. And the American believes, after getting match time for US runners-up Portland, she can take her game to a new level. Eckerstrom was instrumental for the Jets last season, playing in all 13 of their matches. The W-League kicks off in seven days.

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RUSSELL CONTINUES PREPARATION FOR GOLD COAST 600

Newcastle Supercars driver Aaren Russell has settled into life on the Gold Coast, ahead of this weekend’s enduro round, taking on the Titans in a game of beach volleyball. It was the perfect way for the co-driver to relax ahead of the 600, coming back into the team to support Andre Heimgartner. Practice begins tomorrow – as for the volleyball match, the honours were shared. (AUDIO IN PARTS)

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NEW SOUTH WALES STILL WITH CHANCE IN SHIELD OPENER

There’s still hope for Jason Sangha and his New South Wales team mates in their season-opening Sheffield Shield match against South Australia. The debutant was even thrown the ball as the Blues looked to restrict the Redbacks. He only bowled one over before the tail was cleaned up. New South Wales are now back at the crease for their second knock, and have a slender lead.

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RYAN CALLINAN THRUST INTO WORLD TITLE RACE

Newcastle wildcard Ryan Callinan may well decide surfing’s world title race. Having won his first round heat against Owen Wright in Portugal, he’ll now take on Gabriel Medina… who’s locked in a three-way tussle for the crown with fellow Brazillian Felipe Toledo and Australia’s Julian Wilson. “Yeah it’s awesome. I came here for two weeks and i’ve been here for over a month now.” Callinan said. “It looks like i’m going to be staying a little longer. It’s been an amazing trip, it’s really overwhelming but really cool.” All three world title contenders survived their opening heats overnight.

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JASON SANGHA MAKES NEW SOUTH WALES DEBUT

There were a few false starts, but Newcastle cricket prodigy Jason Sangha has made his debut for New South Wales. The 19-year-old was presented his baggy blue by skipper Peter Neville, before play finally began at Adelaide Oval this afternoon, after rain delays. “Although you’ve achieved this at 19, Sang.” Neville said in the presentation. “There’s no doubt how much effort you’ve put in. I look forward to wearing it alongside you.”

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FAMILY COMES FIRST FOR CHAMPION IRONMAN

The national surf ironman series begins in Sydney this weekend, and it’s the only round the Hunter’s best ironman will compete in. Daniel Collins is taking a break from the sport to support his sister Jessica, who’s suffered a serious spinal injury. TO DONATE to Jessica Collins’ recovery, head to: https://au.gofundme.com/sunflowers-for-jess

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