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BOONIE GOES INTO BAT

A cricketing great has backed the notion of Newcastle being part of a national Twenty20 competition. Australian selector David Boon faced up to NBN’s own Jim Callinan at a charity lunch today, and Jim began by asking Boonie what he thought of the test win over New Zealand.

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KNIGHTS STRIKE DEAL WITH HUNTER VENUES

There’s speculation the Newcastle Knights will relinquish a lease agreement on their home ground, to clear a $1.5-million debt. Club CEO Steve Burraston today appeared happy about an in-principle deal, struck last night with the state government-run Hunter Venues, but both parties are refusing to release any details. The Knights owed the authority $1.5-million in rent for EnergyAustralia Stadium. The club had refused to pay the money, claiming the redevelopment of the Western Grandstand had cost it $1-million in revenue. An agreement was reached last night, following the first day of an independent hearing.

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MCBREEN ALMOST HOME

After playing in the UK, Townsville and Perth, there was almost a homecoming for Newcastle footballer Daniel McBreen today. The 33 year old was on show on the Central Coast, as the Mariners’ latest signing. And the former Newcastle NSL striker says he can’t wait to take on the Jets. “Yeah you know obviously I’ve played there before and that’s where I grew up and everything, but you always like to get one over on your old club so it would be to beat them.”

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SLIPPER STILL IN PATH OF ELIMBARI

Newcastle trainer Kris Lees is still hopeful of running Elimbari in the $3.5-million Golden Slipper on Saturday week, with the filly’s owners to have the final say. The one-time favourite is 20th in the order of entry, after an unplaced effort in last week’s Group 2 Reisling Stakes. Elimbari pulled up well, and will be entered for the Listed T-L Baillieu Stakes over 1,400 metres on Slipper day, if she doesn’t secure a start in the world’s richest race for two year olds.

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BIG BEN CROSSED OUT OF MANLY CLASH

While the Cayless boys are set to go head-to-head this weekend, another battle of the brothers was put on ice today. Ben Cross will miss the clash against Manly and younger brother Matt, amid concerns over a series of head knocks suffered by the Knight, the most recent at the weekend.

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CORY FORGIVES SLATER’S SLEDGE

Newcastle forward Cory Paterson has accepted Storm fullback Billy Slater’s apology after a heated confrontation during their clash on Saturday night. Paterson, who battled depression last year, wouldn’t confirm the alledged sledge but its been reported Slater said “Why don’t you go to your room for a cry.” For Paterson, it was the ‘sorry’ he was keen to hear.

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THOMAS RACES INTO COMM GAMES TEAM

Meanwhile, Hunter swim king Thomas Fraser-Holmes is back home in Newcastle tonight, knowing the biggest trip of his life is only a few months away. Having qualified for the Delhi Commonwealth Games later this year, it’s all still sinking in for the 18 year old.

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TRIATHLON FESTIVAL

There’s plenty who’ve earned a rest after today’s triathlon festival around the Newcastle Foreshore. With almost 1,100 competitors across four races, it was the region’s biggest. The Olympic distance event was won by Sydney’s Paul Ambrose, while Tim Reed dominated the shorter, die-hards’ race. Newcastle’s Matt Brady pushed him all the way to finish second, while it was a successful day for fellow local Regina Wright. A late decision to race, ended with a comfortable win in her home event.

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