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SMELTZ SIGNS WITH PHOENIX AS JETS APPROACH BRIDGE

Wellington has announced the signing of former New Zealand rep Shane Smeltz, for the rest of the season. Jets coach Mark Jones had mentioned the striker as a possible recruitment target, but CEO Lawrie McKinna says no formal offer was made. The Jets admit they have been in contact with Mark Bridge, who’s currently playing in Thailand on a lucrative three-year contract. But at this stage, he hasn’t been offered a deal to return to Newcastle.

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HUNTER AFL PRODUCT EXTENDS CONTRACT WITH THE SWANS

The Hunter’s Isaac Heeney has extended his contract with the Sydney Swans, signing for another five years. The 20-year-old will remain with the team until at least the end of the 2022 season. After bursting on to the AFL scene in 2015, the Black Hill star has become a household name. He’s had an impressive year with the Swans, which has seen him play 24 matches and claim the AFL Coaches Association’s Best Young Player of the Year Award. “We’re really excited about what the future holds for Isaac and look forward to him plying his trade in red and white for many years to come,” said Swans Head of Football, Tom Harley.

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EDWARDS PREPARES FOR NEW REP ROLE

Newcastle rep coach Todd Edwards admits he considered stepping down from the role, after the Country Rugby League changed the structure of country championships to an under-23 competition. Edwards joined representatives from all eight first-grade sides today for the announcement of the Newcastle Rugby League draw. Country championship wise, the Rebels are the reigning titleholders, and face Northern Rivers at Port Macquarie in round one.

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REDS POSE DANGER

Despite their rousing win over the Perth Glory,the Jets are still wondering what might have been. While they returned home with three points, the winning margin could have been greater. Defending premiers Adelaide will arrive in the Hunter on the back of patchy form – and a four-nil drubbing at the hands of Brisbane. (audio in parts)

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GAGAI AND MATA’UTIA MAKE ALL STARS

Sione Mata’utia says his selection in the World All Stars side, is a massive confidence booster heading into season 2017. [Notes:34’20” Sione, diff angle 36’13”] The Knights’ back row convert is looking forward to playing against his clubmate, Dane Gagai, who will start on the wing for the Indigenous side. Sione has been named on the bench for the clash, at McDonald Jones Stadium. (audio in parts)

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