NSW players given 144-page books to remember historic State of Origin series win

It was a State of Origin series win to remember for NSW and Blues players have a coffee table book to make sure they never forget it.

They were handed a 144-page book at Monday night's Brad Fittler Medal to document their journey from a batch of rookies to series champions.

With coach Fittler telling the team not to bother buying into any media hype because they'd get a chance to read it back later, staff collected articles from newspapers about the series from the first day of camp to Game III.

Every day of camp is documented chronologically in the display book, which also includes galleries of team training and inspirational quotes from Fittler.

"I never looked into much media and read too many articles about it," Blues player of the series James Tedesco said.

"So to look back and see us at training and winning the series, it's something I will cherish for the rest of my life."

Printed with each player's NSW number and given only to them and football staff members, the book is the last of Fittler's initiatives for 2018.

Blues players were rushed back into their NRL teams after the series victory in July but the books gave them and staff the chance to reflect on the six weeks on Monday night.

"Honestly, it was such a privilege to be involved in this Origin series," adviser Greg Alexander told guests at Monday's awards night.

"Looking at the photos in the books, two things stick out to me: the last 15 minutes in Origin II where we won the series and the first half in Origin III where it was a rugby league miracle we were in front at halftime.

"I'd forgotten what it was like to commit yourself to something as emotionally and physically as our players did."

James Maloney in possession during the Ho State of Origin, Game 2. New South Wales Blues v Queensland Maroons , ANZ Stadium,  Sydney, Australia. 24th June 2018. Copyright Photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
James Maloney in action for the NSW Blues during Game II of the 2018 State of Origin against the Queensland Maroons. Source: Photosport


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Watch: Sam Burgess speaks about Rabbitohs' Auckland sexting scandal - 'I'm happy for the truth to come out'

South Sydney superstar Sam Burgess hopes the NRL's integrity unit will finalise its investigation into the sexting scandal, which has engulfed the club, within the next two days.

Burgess addressed reporters today, saying he's keen for the "truth to come out" about allegations lewd images were sent to a young woman from one of his social media accounts, after a match earlier this season.

"While the investigation is going on we've been told to publicly make no comment ... I'm following the process," Burgess said before Saturday's preliminary final against the Sydney Roosters.

"I'm not going into the detail of anything.

"I'm happy for the truth to come out.

"That's going to be my answer to the majority of your questions.

"Hopefully within 24 hours, 48 hours I think it should be resolved."

The saga has overshadowed the Rabbitohs' preparations for their grand final qualifier against their traditional rivals at Allianz Stadium.

Burgess thanked his friends and family for their recent support during a "tricky few days".

"It's been a tough process to go through, (for) the family together, but fortunately I've got a strong wife," he said.

"A wife who loves me. I've got great family, great friends, great support around me.

"You do feel it but I've had certain experiences in my life before, had serious emotions I've had to deal with, and football has always been great for me."

Burgess hopes the issue will be solved in the next two days. Source: 9 NEWS Sydney


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Needle found in Sydney apple amid strawberry contamination crisis - report

A mother has reportedly found a needle inside an apple she bought from a Woolworths supermarket in Sydney's northwest.

The Seven Network today reported the needle was found in a six-pack of Pink Lady apples purchased from a supermarket at The Ponds.

The Kellyville Ridge mother reportedly found the needle when peeling an apple for her daughters this morning.

"I just thought wow this can't possibly be happening," she told the Seven Network.

"Not in apples. I'd seen the news about the strawberries and I'd been vigilant about cutting those up for the girls but to see this in an apple ..."

A Woolworths spokesman told AAP "we're aware of the customer report and understand police are investigating".

"The details have been referred to the authorities leading the response to this matter and we'll consult with them on next steps," he said in a statement.

New South Wales Police say they are investigating and have called a press conference to discuss the matter.

Needles have been found in strawberries across Australia with New Zealand announcing this week it would pull the Australian-grown fruit from its supermarket shelves.

A health warning to throw out or cut up strawberries remains in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia.

Cripps Pink apples just in from harvest at an apple orchard
Apples (file picture). Source: istock.com

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Broncos star treating match against Warriors as Kiwi Ferns trial - 'Everyone is in the running to get a black jersey'

They call her The Jukebox because when damaging Brisbane back-rower Teuila Fotu- Moala takes the field, the hits keep coming.

And the New Zealand star has vowed to be on song in Friday's NRL Women's Premiership final round clash with the Warriors in Melbourne, likening it to a Kiwi Ferns trial.

Fotu-Moala - player of the 2017 Women's World Cup - has been the key to a perfect season start for Brisbane who can seal a grand-final berth with a third straight victory.

But Fotu-Moala is also eyeing off October's Auckland Test against the Jillaroos and hopes to stake a claim by overcoming Warriors back-rower Onjeurlina Leiataua.

"It's almost like a Kiwi Ferns trial because everyone is pretty much in the running to get into that black jersey at the end of the season," she said of the October 13 Test.

"The biggest match-up for me would be Onjeurlina.

"She's explosive, strong, powerful and eats a lot of metres. She's one to watch out for."

Fotu-Moala is good mates with Leiataua and knows the bulk of the Warriors squad after they played together in the Auckland competition.

That won't earn them any favours on Friday at AAMI Park in the curtain raiser for the Melbourne-Cronulla NRL preliminary final.

"When we saw that we were playing the Warriors I knew I had to get more aggressive this week," Fotu-Moala said.

"I need to do what I can to match them because they will be coming for us, I know that.

"Maybe some of us will be targets for them.

"It's mixed feelings (playing mates). I have a soft spot for my friends - off the field, not on the field."

Teuila Fotu-Moala on attack. Kiwi Ferns v England, Women’s Rugby League World Cup Semi Final at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Sydney, Australia on 26 November 2017. Copyright Image: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
Teuila Fotu-Moala on attack for the Kiwi Ferns against England. Source: Photosport


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Off-contract Warriors veteran Issac Luke approached by Newcastle Knights - report

The Warriors are reportedly locked in a battle to keep Issac Luke on the books for next year with the Newcastle Knights looking to steal away the off-contract international hooker.

The Newcastle Herald reports Knights head coach Nathan Brown used the most of his time while in camp with the All Blacks in Wellington last week to meet up with Luke and his agent Bruce Sharrock.

The Knights are on the hunt for another hooker to replace another Kiwi Slade Griffin, who suffered his fourth season-ending injury earlier this year.

Luke has been in prolonged discussions with the Warriors to remain in Auckland but with the club taking out big contracts to secure the talents of Blake Green, Tohu Harris, Adam Blair and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, there is little money left in the salary cap for the 31-year-old.

The club has St George Illawara front rower Leeson Ah Mau joining the club next season after signing a three year deal.

While the Warriors have promising talent Nathaniel Roache returning to the squad next season after spending 2018 recovering from a back surgery, the 22-year-old only has 20 NRL games under his belt and the club hoped he could learn more about his role from Luke.

It was reported earlier this year the Eels were also looking to sign Luke but there have been no known further advancements made by them.

Warriors hooker Issac Luke. Vodafone Warriors v  St George Illawarra Dragons. NRL Rugby League. Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand. Friday 19 May 2017 © Copyright Photo: Bruce Lim / www.Photosport.nz
Warriors hooker Issac Luke in action against St George Illawarra Dragons. Source: Photosport


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