Sun Pharma slashes Tasmanian poppy production following slump in global demand for pain relief

The reduced need for surgical pain relief during the pandemic has forced Tasmanian poppy processor Sun Pharma to cut its growing area for the coming season.

The multinational, which contracts growers across the state to produce poppies for its factory at Latrobe, has also made two field officers redundant as part of the cuts.

Worldwide demand for opium-based pain relief dropped to an all-time low last year as COVID cancelled most elective surgeries.

The pandemic also shut some pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in the United States and Europe for several months.

This added more pressure to inventories of raw narcotic material from the previous season that was used to make painkilling drugs.

“Elective surgeries take up a big part of the inventory,” said Tasmanian Poppy Growers Association chief executive Keith Rice.

Mr Rice said 20 growers in the south would not grow poppies this year and 150 others will have their contracts reduced.

“At the moment, everything south of Woodbury, that is the Southern Midlands, the Yorke Plains, the Central Highlands and the Derwent Valley will not be offered contracts for the coming season.

“I say ‘up to’ because it’s not quite determined at the present time.

“It’s a very severe and substantial cut right across the growing area.”

The push to slash contracts has hit as growers prepare paddocks for the coming season.

Tom Edgell grows poppies on his mixed cropping property at Bothwell in the central Highlands of Tasmania.

He said the announcement had blindsided the local industry.

“It was completely out of the blue,” Mr Edgell said.

“The first time we realised something was amiss was when our area field reps were made redundant.

“It’ll be a big hit for those farmers that were growing with Sun [Pharma].

Mr Edgell said he anticipated that Tasmanian botanical research and development company Extractus Bioscience would be contacted by growers with surplus product.

The company’s field operations manager Noel Beven admitted his phone had been running hot.

“There are a lot of Sun [Pharma] growers hoping that we will be able accommodate them,” he said.

Extractas Bioscience had also been affected by changes in demand, however, Mr Beven said the company had already done a lot to become “a much leaner, meaner machine” last year.

Mr Rice said Sun Pharma assured growers the reduction was not permanent.

“They [Sun Pharma] are committed to go back to the south,” he said.

“It was a very subdued and sombre meeting; you could tell that the Sun Pharma senior management hadn’t had a lot of sleep in recent days.

“They were very mindful of the impact this decision was going to have.” 

Sun Pharma declined to comment but said it would talk to all of its growers in the coming weeks.

It is not yet known how the drop in demand will affect Sun Pharma’s processing plant at Port Fairy in Victoria, with a review of that operation still underway.   

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Good Friday Appeal | Herald Sun

Good Friday Appeal

Thanks a mil, Layla

Teenager Layla Hopkins and her supporters have their sights set on a million-dollar milestone for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

Good Friday Appeal

Former olympics synchronised swimmer Tarren Otte is holding a boot camp fundraiser on the beach ahead of the 'virtual' Run for the Kids. It is in support of the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal. Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Picture: David Crosling

Tarren’s run for her life

Dual Olympian Tarren Otte says the lifesaving medical care she received as a child has motivated her to take part in the Herald Sun Transurban Run for the Kids. This is how she is preparing.


Jackie Ginefra and Bailey gets some practice for Run for the kids.Picture:Rob Leeson.

Run at home to run for the kids

Run for the Kids might be delayed until later in the year but Victorians can still lace up the runners and do their bit for the Good Friday Appeal. Here’s how.

Good Friday Appeal

The GFA Charity Home is now finished.
Nine year old Ava Pattie who has celebrated two years clear of leukaemia and was a patient of the Royal ChildrenÕs Hospital paints her hand prints with RCH patients hand prints on the mural by artist Justine Millsom aka Juzpop Creations. 
Picture: David Caird

Patient lends a hand

Ava Pattie will never be able to thank all the people who helped while she underwent treatment for Leukaemia, but has joined scores of patients lending a hand for the Good Friday Appeal charity home.

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Air Canada to resume some flights to sun destinations in May

Air Canada says it will restore some service along routes to Jamaica, Mexico and Barbados beginning in early May after Canadian airlines suspended all flights to sun destinations in January at the request of the federal government.

Air Canada will operate three flights per week from Toronto to Mexico City starting May 3, and one flight per week from Toronto to Kingston, Jamaica and Bridgetown, Barbados beginning May 5 and May 9, respectively.

The suspension on flights to sun destinations was intended to last until April 30.

Air Canada said in its most recent earnings call in February that it expected the federal government to replace some quarantine measures for international travellers with a testing program at airports by the time the suspensions were scheduled to lift.

In addition to flights to sun destinations, Air Canada also suspended some routes to the U.S. and other countries earlier this year due to low demand for travel.

The airline plans to restore some routes, including Vancouver – Tokyo as of May 1, Toronto – Hong Kong as of May 6 and Toronto – Bogota as of May 7.

– This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2021.

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Gold Coast Sun midfielder Matt Rowell to miss half of the AFL season with a minor tear of his PCL

Gold Coast young gun Matt Rowell has avoided surgery on his injured left knee but is still expected to miss the first half of the AFL season.

The Suns confirmed on Tuesday that the 19-year-old had sustained a minor tear to the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) after falling heavily in a first-quarter tackle in Sunday’s round one loss to West Coast in Perth.

While the injury won’t require surgery, Suns football manager Jon Haines said, Rowell will wear a brace for six weeks with a return to play unlikely for another four to six weeks after that.

“We expect him to be playing in the back half of the year so, all things being equal, it’s a reasonable outcome,” Haines said.

Sunday’s match was Rowell’s first AFL appearance after his breakout debut campaign in 2020 was ended by a serious shoulder injury against Geelong last July.


The 2019 number one draft pick had made a stellar start to his career, starring in his first four matches — including a hat-trick of performances, each recognised with three votes at the Brownlow Medal count — before suffering the injury against the Cats in round five.

Haines was positive Rowell would handle his latest setback well despite the obvious disappointment.

“But at the same time, he’s no different to any other player who’s in rehab.

“He’ll jump in with the rest of the rehab group and hit that really strongly like he did the last time.”


Despite Rowell’s blistering start to his AFL career, Haines said it was important to keep the teenager’s experience and expectation in perspective.

“At the end of the day he’s played six games and he’s entering his second season.

“From our point of view and certainly from Matt’s point of view he wants to be treated as another player in the Suns line-up, and that’s how we treat him, as one of the 49 on our list.”

Ben Ainsworth looms as the most likely replacement for Rowell in the Suns’ midfield for Saturday’s home clash with North Melbourne, having missed the trip west due to a tight hamstring.


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Review: ‘Klara and the Sun,’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara’s optical responses to right and wrong are the affective computer’s version of an innate morality—her unnatural natural law. They’re also another way that Ishiguro turns robot stereotypes on their head. Many hands have been wrung (including mine) about nanny bots and animatronic pets or pals, which will be, or so we prognosticators have fretted, soulless and servile. They’ll spoil the children. But Klara does nothing of the sort. She’ll carry out orders if they’re reasonable and issued politely, but she does not respond to rude commands, and she is anything but spineless. No one instructs her to try to find a cure for Josie; she does that on her own. Everyone except Klara and Rick seems resigned to the girl’s decline. The problem is that the plan of action Klara comes up with is so bizarre that the reader may suspect her software is glitching.

Oddly enough, given its subject matter, Klara and the Sun doesn’t induce the shuddery, uncanny-valley sensation that makes Never Let Me Go such a satisfying horror story. For one thing, although Klara never describes her own appearance, we deduce from the fact that humans immediately know she’s an AF that she isn’t humanoid enough to be creepy. (Clones, by contrast, pass for human, because they are human.) Moreover, this novel’s alternate universe isn’t all that alternate. Yes, lifting has made the body more cyborgian while androids have become more anthropoid, but we’ve been experiencing that role reversal for some time now. Otherwise, the setting parallels our own: It has the same extreme inequalities of wealth and opportunity, the same despoiled environment, the same deteriorating urban space. Even the sacrifice of children to parental fears about loss of status seems sadly familiar.

And Klara and the Sun doesn’t strive for uncanniness. It aspires to enchantment, or to put it another way, reenchantment, the restoration of magic to a disenchanted world. Ishiguro drapes realism like a thin cloth over a primordial cosmos. Every so often, the cloth slips, revealing the old gods, the terrible beasts, the warring forces of light and darkness. The custom of performing possibly lethal prosthetic procedures on one’s own offspring bears a family resemblance to immolating them on behalf of the god Moloch.

We can perceive monstrosity (or fail to perceive it), but Klara can see monsters. Crossing a field on the way to the waterfall with the Mother, Klara spots a bull, and grows so alarmed that she cries out. Not that she hadn’t seen photos of bulls before, but this creature

gave, all at once, so many signals of anger and the wish to destroy. Its face, its horns, its cold eyes watching me all brought fear into my mind, but I felt something more, something stranger and deeper. At that moment it felt to me some great error had been made that the creature should be allowed to stand in the Sun’s pattern at all, that this bull belonged somewhere deep in the ground far within the mud and darkness, and its presence on the grass could only have awful consequences.

Klara is allowed to stand in the pattern of the Sun. Ishiguro has anointed her, a high-tech consumer product, the improbable priestess of something very like an ancient nature cult. Gifted with a rare capacity for reverence, she tries always to remember to thank the Sun for sustaining her. Her faith in him is total. When Klara needs help, she goes to the barn where she believes he sets, and there she has the AI equivalent of visions. Old images of the store jostle against the barn’s interior walls. So do new ones: Rosa lies on the ground in distress. Klara fears that her petition may have angered the Sun, but then the glow of the sunset takes on “an almost gentle aspect.” A piece of furniture from the store, the Glass Display Trolley, rises before her, as if assumed into the sky. The robot has spoken with her god, and he has answered: “I could tell that the Sun was smiling towards me kindly as he went down for his rest.”

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racing tips best bets | Herald Sun

Group 1-winning jockey John Allen has a stellar book at Terang on Monday, with all six rides, including five for the Ciaron Maher-David Eustace stable, rated $3.6 to $6 chances.

Form analyst Gilbert Gardiner hopes to get punters off to a big start to the week with all the good oil from terang on Monday.



R5 No. 1 $3.60

Nice win at Kilmore two starts ago, then just ran out of time at Warrnambool after closing sharply in soft conditions from back in the field. Big weight to deal with but the rails draw should see her get a nice run in transit.



R2 No. 8 $3.20

Five-start maiden was only nabbed late last start at Donald. Has a wide draw (13) to contend with but should only be better for the run.


R6 No. 1 $3.30

Not beaten far first-up at Ballarat when eighth, 2.1 lengths behind Revlis, and was a winner second-up last preparation. Drops in grade and proven at the distance.



R8 No. 3 $8

Ex-NSW galloper making Victorian debut for trainer Liam Howley. Drawn out so needs to be used up early to find a position, but on best form should be right in the finish.



The Irishman, who seldom misses out on the provincial circuits, has six rides at Terang including five for the powerhouse Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable.

STAREDOWN (R2 No. 5 $4), QUIZ SHOW (R3 No. 10 $6), POPPY JOAN (R4 No. 10 $3.90), CAKE WALKER (R5 No. 1 $3.60), GIMME THE GOSS (R7 No. 7 $4.40) and HIGH DELTA (R8 No. 4 $4.40).

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Demand, price growth proves sun is shining on regions

There has been a huge surge in buyer demand in some of regional Queensland’s beachside suburbs, with two unlikely townships experiencing triple digit growth.

And one suburb blitzed the competition with price growth of 33.8 per cent.

Forrest Beach (Hinchinbrook) and Hay Point (Mackay) recorded a sharp rise in the number of views per property listing over the past 12 months, up 147.1 per cent and 138.4 per cent respectively, new data from reveals.

The current median house price in the sleepy beachside suburb of Forrest Beach is now $220,000, which is down from a high of $280,000 three years ago.


Everyone wants an island home

Splash out on a family suite in iconic waterpark resort

Regional house prices boom in 2020

Mary Venables of Venables Real Estate, who has been selling real estate in Forrest Beach for 30 years, said it had been an unusual 12 months but it had been busy.

Ms Venables said buyers were “coming from all over the place”, from across the region and as far south as Victoria.

She said while some were grey nomads who knew the area, others were families chasing a laid-back lifestyle.

“Which is great because it means our school and community is growing,” she said.

A view over the 2.2ha Forrest Beach hotel, motel and caravan park property north of Townsville.


Forrest Beach 147.1%

Hay Point 138.4%

Kinka Beach 95.9%

Mudjimba 86.8%

Jubilee Pocket 85.2%

Airlie Beach 83.2%

Boyne Island 81.4%

Bakers Creek 81.2%

Wonga Beach 80.6%

Tugun 80.3%



Hay Point Coal Terminal.

Hay Point Coal Terminal.

Hay Point’s median house price is currently $351,500, down from a high of $385,000 a decade ago at the peak of the mining boom.

But RE/MAX Results Mackay agent Michael Althaus, who sells in Hay Point, said the resources sector was not the key driver for sales in the area any longer.

“I think it’s the affordability, and the fact it is a beautiful place,” he said.


Beachfront houses in Hay Point come at a premium, with this one listed for $560,000

Beachfront houses in Hay Point come at a premium, with this one listed for $560,000


“I would say 75 to 80 per cent of my inquiries have been from interstate buyers, and the rest are locals upgrading.

“I have buyers flying up from Melbourne next week to look at property.”

Mr Althaus said many buyers were keen to escape the city rat-race, having learned how to work from home.

He said low vacancy rates were also a factor, right across the region, with it now cheaper to pay off a mortgage than to rent in many cases.

“All regional areas are getting a kick along as a result of COVID,” he said.

“It is the silver lining for us.”

Airlie Beach foreshore in the Whitsundays. Picture: Rae Wilson

Airlie Beach foreshore in the Whitsundays. Picture: Rae Wilson


Pimpama 128.0%

Warana 122.6%

Kewarra Beach 92.4%

Bowen 91.3%

West Mackay 89.3%

Tin Can Bay 87.0%

Peregian Beach 84.8%

Coomera 83.3%

Airlie Beach 83.1%

Scarness 81.6%



Other star performers for demand growth range for houses at Mudjimba (Sunshine Coast) and Tugun (Gold Coast) to Airlie Beach (Whitsundays) and Boyne Island (Gladstone).

For units, top performers include Pimpama (Gold Coast), Kewarra Beach (Cairns), Bowen (Whitsundays) and Scarness (Hervey Bay).


STUNNING: The back edge of a rainband produced a brilliant sunset at Boyne Island. Picture: Nick Kossatch

STUNNING: The back edge of a rainband produced a brilliant sunset at Boyne Island. Picture: Nick Kossatch


In terms of house price growth over the past 12 months, North Ward in Townsville came out on top with 33.8 per cent growth.

It also recorded the shortest days on market in regional Queensland – just 35 days, well ahead of Currumbin (Gold Coast) and Pelican Waters (Sunshine Coast) at 50 days each.

The sought-after suburb, with views of iconic Castle Hill and Magnetic Island, now has a median house value of $700,000, the REA Market Trends report says.

Townsville’s most expensive suburb, Castle Hill, has a median house value of $1.08 million.

For units, Belgian Gardens, also in Townsville, was also a top 10 growth star, up 37.8 per cent year-on-year, just behind North Mackay on 41.9 per cent.


11 Walang Crt, North Mackay sold for $1.25 million in November, 2020. Picture: Explore Property

11 Walang Crt, North Mackay sold for $1.25 million in November, 2020. Picture: Explore Property



North Ward 33.8%

Sunshine Beach 33.1%

Sarina 32.1%

Armstrong Beach 27.7%

Shelly Beach 27.6%

Moffat Beach 26.7%

Forrest Beach 23.6%

Sunrise Beach 23.1%

Booral 22.5%

Miami 22.1%




Ray White’s Julie Mahoney sold 15 houses in North Ward alone last year, and said she was not surprised at the results.

“In terms of location., it really doesn’t get any better,” she said.

“People are either view or walking-distance-to-beach beach driven and it is not often you can get both.

“But it can be done in North Ward, albeit you might see those (properties) go for north of $1 million, which is still huge value.”

Ms Mahoney sold this North Ward house on November 25

Ms Mahoney sold this North Ward house on November 25


Ms Mahoney said the majority of buyers were cashed-up locals upgrading, but also out-of-towners moving to the city.

“Just 18 months ago, Townsville probably wouldn’t have ranked at all,” Ms Mahoney said.

“But we did well during COVID-19 and we have that slower pace, that lifestyle and a lot of people are keen to leave behind that hectic life.”

The Sunshine Coast’s luxurious Sunshine Beach – Queensland’s equal second most expensive suburb for houses – continues to challenge for top spot, with its median house value up 33.1 per cent to $2 million, equal to Brisbane’s Teneriffe and now just $455,000 less than Main Beach (Gold Coast).

The median house value in Sunshine Beach has doubled in just five years, according to the data.

And it is easy to see why!!!

And it is easy to see why!!!

The Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions dominated the top 10 list for price growth, with Shelley Beach (27.6%), Moffat Beach (26.7%) and Sunrise Beach (23.1%) all recording a rise in median house values.

Unit values also rose in Sunrise Beach, Sunshine Beach and Mount Coolum.

In the Mackay region, Sarina, Armstrong Beach and North Mackay also had price growth in houses and unit values, while Forrest Beach (Hinchinbrook) recorded price growth of 23.6 per cent.

Booral (Fraser Coast) and Miami (Gold Coast) also made the top 10 for regional Queensland. economic research director Cameron Kusher said the growth in demand for regional Queensland properties, compared to those in the southeast corner, had been ” a little surprising”.

Cameron Kusher, REA. Picture: Andrew Henshaw/Supplied

Cameron Kusher, REA. Picture: Andrew Henshaw/Supplied

But he said the state as a whole was experiencing strong demand from interstate buyers, with that likely to continue this year.

“North Ward in Townsville, that’s a big city in its own right … and wherever you see amenities, airports, that’s a driver,” he said.

“I think we are seeing a lot of people selling in the cities, making the move to affordable areas and living comfortably.

“People have really reassessed how and where they want to live and while some young people may need to be in the office to progress their career, mature workers may not.

“It will be interesting to see what happens when the vaccine rolls out and workplaces start wanting people to return in some capacity.

“How strong the regional market continues will depend on how much lifestyle remains a factor, and an option.”

SOLD: 3 Grace Court, Yeppoon, sold for $870,260 on December 14, 2020. Picture: Contributed

SOLD: 3 Grace Court, Yeppoon, sold for $870,260 on December 14, 2020. Picture: Contributed



North Mackay 41.9%

Belgian Gardens 37.8%

Cairns City 23.6%

Holloways Beach 23.1%

Alexandra Headland 21.2%

Sunrise Beach 19.1%

Sunshine Beach 19.0%

Hollywell 18.4%

Yeppoon 16.7%

Mount Coolum 16.3%


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Judge in Sun Yang doping case tweeted about dog meat, Swiss court says

The swimmer appealed and the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in December upheld his challenge against the CAS Panel “on the grounds of bias of one of the arbitrators of the CAS”.

Giving its reasons on Friday, the court said the CAS arbitrator had tweeted about animal protection issues, without the restraint required of judges, and had repeatedly used violent expressions.

“In his tweets, the arbitrator castigates a Chinese practice of dog slaughter and denounces the consumption of this meat at a local festival in China,” the Federal Supreme Court said.

“Some expressions refer to the skin colour of certain Chinese people he targets,” it added. “In addition, the arbitrator also made the said remarks in tweets after his appointment as president of the panel of arbitrators deciding in the Sun Yang case.”

As a result, the case has now been sent back to CAS, which must hear it again with a different panel of judges.

The sanctions imposed on Sun were automatically lifted after the court’s December decision, CAS said, adding its procedure would resume once a new president of the panel had been appointed.


“Ultimately, a new award will be issued, which could be different from the first one, or similar,” a CAS spokeswoman said.

The decision could potentially clear the way for Sun to compete at this year’s delayed Tokyo Olympics, depending on when the case is heard.

Sun, the reigning world and Olympic champion in 200 metres freestyle, was banned after he and members of his entourage were found to have smashed vials containing blood samples taken at an out-of-competition test in September 2018.

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Chinese swimmer Sun Yang’s retrial down to CAS judge’s history of hostile tweets about dog meat, Swiss court says

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court has explained why it ordered a retrial for Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang’s doping case, citing anti-China bias related to killing dogs for food by one of the judges in the case.

Hostile social media posts on Twitter by Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Judge Franco Frattini persuaded the federal court he should not have presided over banning the Chinese swimmer.

Federal judges last month sent the case back for a second hearing at CAS, where Sun was previously banned for eight years for violating anti-doping protocols.

Judge Frattini, a former Italian foreign minister, has been barred from the retrial, which is likely to decide if Sun can compete at this year’s delayed Tokyo Olympics.

“In his tweets, the arbitrator [Frattini] castigates a Chinese practice of dog slaughter and denounces the consumption of this meat at a local festival in China,” the Swiss court said in a statement.

The Federal judges said “the doubts as to the impartiality of the arbitrator were objectively justified,” but they did not consider the merits of the evidence in the case.

Judge Frattini chaired a CAS panel of three judges at a hearing in November 2019 that unanimously upheld the World Anti-Doping Agency’s appeal for Sun to be banned.

Previously, a tribunal appointed by swimming body FINA only warned Sun about his conduct during a home visit in 2018 by sample collection officials that became hostile.

After CAS published its verdict last February, Sun’s lawyers appealed to the Swiss supreme court.

A second appeal was filed after online reports last May about Frattini’s social media posts.

These were “tweets made by the arbitrator in 2018 and 2019 in connection with the protection of animals,” the federal court said.

“In principle, an arbitrator can also defend his convictions on social networks, but with the restraint required of judges,” the federal court said.

Judge Frattini was appointed by CAS in early 2019 to chair the appeal, while lawyers for WADA and Sun each got to choose one judge. Both were based in London.

The 10-hour hearing in Montreux, Switzerland, was a rare CAS case held in open court, at the three-time Olympic champion’s request, and streamed live online.

The hearing was marred with translation problems that complicated questioning about why Sun did not comply with sample collectors whose credentials were questioned.

Evidence included Sun using his mobile phone light in the darkness to help a security guard smash the casing holding a vial of his blood.

The guard was instructed by Sun’s mother and used a hammer to break the case and ensure the blood could not be used for anti-doping tests.

The retrial at CAS faces a tight schedule to resolve the case before the Tokyo Olympics.

Sun, 29, is the world champion in the men’s 400-metre freestyle, which is among the first Olympic events scheduled to begin competition on July 24.


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Talented Sun suffers season-ending ACL injury at training

The Gold Coast SUNS yesterday confirmed AFLW midfielder Jacqui Yorston had sustained an injury to her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

The injury, which occurred during a club training session, will see Yorston miss the upcoming 2021 AFLW season.

AFLW Head Physiotherapist Aaron Duffy said Yorston would consult with a specialist before deciding on the best course of action for her rehabilitation.

“It’s incredibly unfortunate for Jacqui to have ruptured her ACL this close to the AFLW season starting,” Duffy told the Qscan Injury Update. 

“Jacqui will be meeting with a specialist in the coming days and the advice from that consultation will help the club determine how to best manage the injury moving forward.”

SUNS Head of Women’s Football Fiona McLarty said the club was committed to providing Yorston all the support she requires during the rehabilitation period.

“Jacqui is an extremely valued player within our club and we know her absence will be a big loss for us this season,” McLarty said.

“She is a terrific character and we’re confident Jacqui’s resilient nature will hold her in good stead as she tackles her rehab.”

The SUNS have the option to add an injury-replacement player to the squad which the club will assess over the coming weeks.

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