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In footsteps of champions

Kurri Kurri nine-year-old Charlie Hawke is taking his first steps along the path set by his hero James Magnussen.Tonight in London the individual Olympic campaign of James Magnussen gets under way in the blue riband men’s 100 metre freestyle event.
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At the same time back in Australia, at the Homebush pool where the Missile has competed many times before, a fellow kid from country NSW will endeavour to make his mark in the water.

That young boy’s name is Charlie Hawke and he will represent NSW in five events, including the 50m freestyle race for his age group, at the School Sport Australia Swimming Championships being held in Sydney this week.

“It [the nationals] will be on the same time as the Olympics,” Hawke said.

“My favourite is James Magnussen and I will be watching him.”

The Kurri Kurri nine-year-old will swim along side Ashtonfield’s Jamie Parker at the national competition, but in either side of the primary and high school divisions.

But for Hawke, the 2012 competition will be his debut at the country-wide event and shows an impressive improvement for the year 4 student during the past 12 months.

“Last year I made state but finished 15th,” Hawke said.

“After that I knew I wanted to make nationals the next year.

“I have trained hard, improved a lot and I am going to nationals.

“I am more confident now.”

And there is little wonder after dominating proceedings in the lead up, going through undefeated in most events and recording personal best times.

Hawke, who had his first taste of competitive racing two years ago, trains under coach Thomas Kuszelyk at Y Valley Swimming Club.

Hawke will participate in the 10 years boys section of the 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 4x50m freestyle relay and 4x50m medley relay as well as the all age relay.

He attends Holy Spirit Primary School at Kurri Kurri.

Across the city Parker goes to Hunter Valley Grammar School.

Competition at Sydney Olympic Park began on Saturday and wraps up on Friday.

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Warriors now only one point behind Raymond Terrace

The Woodberry Warriors consolidated their position in second place in B-grade with a 26-20 win over West Wallsend on Saturday.
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Woodberry are now one point behind first placed Raymond Terrace, who had the bye on the weekend, after their

six-point win at Les Wakeman Oval.

Centre Donald Tekuru scored a

hat-trick of tries for the Warriors, with hooker Matt Martin and Brad Timms also bagging four pointers.

Martin was also successful with three conversion attempts.

Winger Daniel Butler scored a double for West Wallsend, while opposite winger Ken Young and Kyle Brazer also scored tries.

Butler and Brazer both kicked one goal a piece.

East Maitland’s game at Watanobbi Oval against Central Wyong and Dungog’s clash with Stroud at Bennett Park were both victims of the weather, meaning both teams remain outside the finals places.

In A-grade, Paterson River made tough work of their clash against bottom of the table Tea Gardens, eventually grinding out a 16-12 win.

The result leaves them in third place behind Windale and Wallsend Maryland.

In D-grade, Abermain maintained their lead at the top of the table with a 50-6 thrashing of Belmont Souths at Barton Oval.

Abermain remain first on 26 points, with Clarence Town six points behind in second place after their comprehensive 56-26 win over Morpeth at Clarence Town Park.

In the upset of the round, Thornton Beresfield defeated third placed Hinton 28-16 at Lindsay Park.

West Maitland’s home game against Carrington at Coronation Oval was washed out.

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Magpies maul Redbacks

Justin Broadley.The Maitland Magpies have all but secured third position in the first division after demolishing Thornton 7-0 on Sunday.
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A Luke Lawless hat-trick along with goals from Daniel McGovern, Justin Broadley, Evan Ellenbacher and Greg Mudd secured the three points for the high-flying Magpies who now enter the final two weeks of the regular season with a punishing schedule.

After the win against Thornton, Maitland now play Toronto-Awaba tonight at Cooks Square Park before hosting Cessnock City on Sunday, Belmont-Swansea next Tuesday night and Adamstown Rosebud next Sunday which will see the Magpies play five games in 15 days.

Captain Matt Stonham believes that while the fixture hasn’t been kind to his team, the Magpies have what it takes to start building momentum before the finals.

“The win on the weekend was exactly what we needed to get a bit of a roll on,” Stonham said.

“We’ve got Toronto Tuesday night and have a chance to determine who finishes fourth, we’ve got a couple of tough games and those two teams (Cessnock and Toronto) will come out kicking and screaming trying to get the three points.”

Maitland’s seven goal romp over their local rivals sees them move to 35 points, six behind Adamstown in second and six in front of fourth placed Toronto.

With a game in hand over both those teams, Stonham said the win on the weekend was much needed.

“We were still a bit patchy, we’d play 10 or 15 minutes of good football then drop off for five,” Stonham said.

“The first half we were good, we had a lot of energy and completed a lot of passes even though the pitch was quite slippery.”

While Stonham had one of his quieter days in goal, Maitland welcomed back David Mudd into the starting team along with Justin Broadley in the middle of the park.

Mudd managed 70 minutes before being substituted and Stonham was happy with the dynamic midfielders contribution.

“For Muddy it’s all about getting minutes under his belt,” Stonham said.

“We’ve got so many games in the next few weeks I think him and Jutty (Broadley) will be peaking at the right time just as we head into the semis.”

Maitland host Toronto-Awaba tonight at Cooks Square Park.

First grade kick off is at 8pm.

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Court refuses bail to chase accused

A man was refused bail in Maitland Local Court yesterday after he allegedly led police on a chase with a stolen car on Saturday.
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Police said Andrew Huckstadt, of Endeavour Street, stole a Holden Commodore from Gresford and drove it to Rutherford, where he was seen travelling at high speed along Fairfax Street.

Police initiated a pursuit and chased the Commodore through Dunkley Street, where it swerved in and out of lanes.

The court heard Huckstadt, 24, was about to accelerate through a wide corner onto Weblands Street but collided with a hatchback.

The hatchback was pushed into oncoming traffic and collided with a ute.

Huckstadt was allegedly making desperate attempts to flee through the front passenger door, with all three cars wedged in the middle of the T-intersection.

Court documents said Huckstadt violently resisted arrest and wrestled with police to the ground.

Police managed to restrain him, but as they were waiting for a paddy wagon he allegedly started to headbutt the road.

He continued to abuse and resist police and was taken to Maitland police station where he was breath tested and returned a positive reading for alcohol (0.171).

The driver and a passenger from the hatchback were treated for injuries and the road was blocked until 10pm.

Police said Huckstadt’s actions were extremely dangerous and it was fortunate no members of the public were seriously injured.

Huckstadt will remain in custody until August 8 when he will appear in Maitland Local Court via video link.

He has not pleaded to any of the charges, which include a police pursuit, vehicle theft, driving recklessly, never licensed, property damage, two counts of resisting police, theft and breaching bail.

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Teenager likely to be tried for manslaughter

A teenager who was allegedly driving a car that crashed and killed two girls in East Maitland last year is expected to be tried for manslaughter in coming weeks.
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The teenager, who cannot be identified because he was 17 at the time, is accused of driving a Ford Falcon before midnight on January 12 when it collided with a tree on Raymond Terrace Road.

Two girls, aged 15 and 17, died in the accident and four youths were injured.

The matter will be mentioned in Newcastle District Court today.

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Still no answers on excavator incident

Investigations continue to find out why a coal train slammed into an excavator on the Maitland line last December.
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The incident caused massive and costly delays to coal transport when the empty Xstrata train, which was on its way to reload at the mines, was travelling westbound near the High Street train station and hit an excavator that was working on the track on the morning of December 20.

Australian Safety Transport Bureau spokesman Daniel O’Malley said a report was expected to be finalised and released in November.

“The investigation is proceeding on schedule; the final report is being drafted but will undergo review by organisations and directly involved parties,” Mr O’Malley said.

Interviews have been conducted and recorded communications between the protection officer and controllers have been reviewed.

The investigation has found that a protection officer had requested signals to be blocked on the line at Thornton at 7.39am to allow the excavator to be moved across the railway line near Maitland.

Investigations confirm the block was placed at 7.40am.

At 7.43am the empty

coal train collided with the excavator.

No one was injured but both the excavator and locomotive were damage.

Eyewitness Logan Nichols told the Mercury on the day of the incident that the initial impact had occurred near the railway bridge and the excavator was dragged about 50 metres before coming to a halt.

The line is part of the defined interstate rail network.

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Council sets aside money to fix road

Neighbours and Vacy residents Paul Nicholson and Angela Endersby on Tocal Road where potholes are in abundance.The disrepair of Tocal Road is an accident waiting to happen, according to motorists Paul Nicholson and Angela Endersby.
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Mr Nicholson and his neighbour Ms Endersby, of Vacy, travel the road each day and said drivers were frequently forced to cross to the wrong side of the road to dodge potholes.

Many of the potholes are in clusters, which make them difficult to avoid.

Ms Endersby said she almost had an accident when a B-double truck swerved around a corner to miss potholes and nearly hit her head on.

Maitland City Council has allocated money to fix the potholes with a 1.1 kilometre stretch of the road to receive between $300,000 and $400,000 in upgrades in three weeks.

Another section will have an $800,000 upgrade, which is scheduled for completion before the end of the financial year.

The council infrastructure strategy and works program manager Chris McGrath said four extra crews were fixing potholes across the city and other Lower Hunter councils were facing the same problems because of the wet weather.

“We normally have two or three requests to fill potholes a week, but this month we have had 90 so far,” he said.

“We have done heavy patching work on Tocal Road and it has not been sufficient, so we are going to be conducting more permanent repair work in three weeks.”

Mr McGrath said experts were investigating pavement designs for the road to rehabilitate the pavement.

He encouraged motorists to drive carefully on roads with potholes and said the council would spend as much money on the roads as they could.

Mr Nicholson and Ms Endersby believe the trucks that travel on the road to and from the Martins Creek Quarry, combined with wet weather, were to blame for the state of the road.

Mr McGrath said Martins Creek Quarry, along with other quarries in the local government area, contributed to road funding under Section 94 contributions for extractive industries and this money was to be used for the upgrade, along with money from the council’s maintenance fund.

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S-U-C-C-E-S-S . . . for pair in spelling bee

Spelling bee winners Kassadi Barake, 11, and Mitchell Parrott, 12. Mitchell Parrott and Kassadi Barake will represent their school at the zone level of the Premier’s Spelling Bee competition.
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The Metford Public School year 6 students won the stage three final at the school yesterday on the first day of the state’s Education Week celebrations.

Mitchell, 12, was selected through the normal spelling round. Kassadi, 11, was locked in a spell-off with Thomas Glover for almost half-an-hour before she was named the winner.

The classmates did not expect to win the challenge and said they would be honoured to represent the school in the next part of the competition on September 12.

“I’m very surprised, I’ve always been good at spelling and I’ve always done my homework since

kindergarten, but I didn’t expect I would win,” Kassadi said

“It’s important to learn to spell so you can get a good job when you grow up.”

Mitchell said spelling was one of his talents.

“We were given a list of all the words we could be asked,” he said.

“We do a lot of our spelling work in class so I learn a lot from that.”

Their teacher Lee Schulha said the students’ results were evidence of their hard work in class.

“It is the rigorous spelling routines we do in class each week that has earned them selection,” she said.

“We do spelling every day, we do nine activities a week and a go up and down peg system according to their results in the weekly spelling test.”

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Youth jailed for assault

A teenager has been jailed for nine months after assaulting a youth at a train station in May.
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Jason Watson, 18, of Hulot Close, Thornton, had been ordered to complete the Forum Sentencing Program after he pleaded guilty to attempting to steal a car, entering a car and possessing equipment used to break and enter.

Responding to an anonymous call about 11.25pm on May 25, police found Watson leaning down to the ignition of a car as he sat in the driver’s seat.

When police asked what he was doing he said he was cold and was going to sleep.

Police found tools in Watson’s

backpack and saw the ignition had been damaged.

Maitland Local Court had ordered Watson to attend forum sentencing, but the order was revoked after he assaulted a

17-year-old at Thornton train station on June 15.

Court documents said Watson had driven to the train station with his

mother and brother about 4.30pm. CCTV showed Watson getting out of the car and entering the station where he yelled “dog” to the boy.

Watson stood at a set of stairs above the boy and kicked him in the head, knocking him sideways and off balance.

He then followed the boy down the stairs onto the platform and pulled a folding knife from his pocket.

When the boy told Watson to put the knife away he continued to follow him before punching him in the head several times.

Watson pleaded guilty to two counts of common assault, intimidation and custody of a knife in a public place.

He was jailed for 12 months with a non-parole period of nine months.

He was jailed nine months for the car break-in offences.

Watson said: ‘F—- you’ to magistrate Darryl Pearce as he was taken back to the cells.

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Police hunt arsonists

The excavators destroyed by fire at Buchanan on Sunday night. Arsonists have irreparably damaged vital equipment worth $500,000 that was being used to build the Hunter Expressway.
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A deliberate act occurred two kilometres from the nearest road at Buchanan.

Three excavators and other vehicles were damaged in a diesel-fuelled fire at the project site about 8.40pm on Sunday near the intersection of Averys Lane.

It took emergency services several hours to extinguish

the fires, which destroyed

excavators and damaged other heavy vehicles parked at the

construction site.

A sub-contractor owns the equipment, which was being used to complete drainage work at the site and now other resources will have to be found if the project is to be completed on time.

A Roads and Maritime Services spokeswoman said the project team was disappointed that someone would deliberately destroy the equipment.

“Everyone involved on the Hunter Expressway is working very hard and it’s disheartening this vandalism has occurred,” she said.

She said there had been minor vandalism problems in the past and the Hunter Expressway alliance and Abigroup employed security who patrolled the site out of work hours.

The spokeswoman said the timetable for work on the eastern section of the expressway and the timing of work at the George Booth Drive and Buchanan

interchange would not be delayed.

The work is still expected to be finished between Friday, August 17 and Monday, August 20.

Police are investigating the arson attack and encouraged anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area on Sunday night to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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