Child rescued from drug lab: cash, guns, drugs seized TweetFacebook Images of weapons, drugs and paraphernalia from the raidsPOLICE claim to have rescued a five-year-old girl from a clandestine drug lab allegedly hidden at North Wagga’s Eldorado property during a string of raids this week.
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Cash, ice, cannabis, guns and drug paraphernalia were seized by the State Crime Command (SCC) from Condon Avenue and Oura Road properties during back-to-back search warrants on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Three men, aged 30, 34, and 44, have been taken into custody and charged with a raft of offences.

Detective Inspector Darren Cloake believes those implicated are part of a broader criminal enterprise –potentially spanning the state.

“It isthe position of the police that the three members arrested are part of a widercriminal syndicate,” he said.

He revealed the child discovered during Wednesday’sNorth Wagga swoopwillbe taken into government custody.

“Police have made a mandatory notification to Family and Community Services (FACS) to care for the well being of that child in the future,” he said.

“These labspresenta significant risk as they have a tenancy to explode, so it is of huge concern that a small child was present at the location.”

The series of raids was triggered at 10pm on Tuesday night, when Wagga police claim to have intercepted a 34-year-old driving his Holden Commodore negligently in Mount Austin.

Officers seized quantities of ice and cannabis during the search.

It led detectives tothe Mount Austin home ofthe 34-year-old’sassociate.

A search of theCondon Avenue home on Tuesday afternoon uncovered an unregistered rifle, approximately $6000 in cash, an ounce of ice, cannabis, and allegedly stolen goods.

The 30-year-old occupant was charged with a range of drug-relatedoffences.

Police completed the trifecta when they stormed Oura Road’s Eldorado mansion, discovering five guns, a vast amount of ammunition and a quantity of drugs.

A 44-year-old man was subsequently arrested, pending official charges.

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HARD YARDS: Nathan Brennan will pack down in the second-row for NSW Country against Queensland Country at Ernie Calland Field on Saturday. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNATHAN Brennan considered taking a break from rugby this year.
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The lock had come off a difficult season with Singleton and was lacking motivation.Playing representative rugby was not in the frame.

It took a heart-to-heart talk withNSW Country coach Matt Thompson to light the fire in Brennan’s belly.

On Saturday, the 26-year-old will pack down in the second-row of a Cockatoos side out to complete an undefeated campaign against arch rivals Queensland Country at Ernie Calland Oval.

“At the start of the season I wasn’t overly keen to play,” Brennan said.

“I was thinking about having a year off and focusingon other things. I had a chat to Matt. Hecoached me a couple of years ago and is one of the best coaches I have had. He definitely knows how to get the best out of people.”

In his first season with the Cockatoos,Brennan has been key in wins over Sydney Subbies (40-7) and Brumbies Provincial (50-34).

“He was talking about giving rugby up,” Thomas said.

“I told himhe couldn’t do that and he needed to have another crack: get fit and get yourself into the Newcastle side.He did that and has been one of the strongest players we have in the Country side.He does all the tight stuff that no-one wants to do.”

Brennan is Singleton captain and although he takes pride in leading his home team, it has been a struggle at times.

“We put in the effort each week but don’t get much reward,” Brennan said. “It is a challenge but wehave such a great club culture at Singleton. That is the reason all the boys turn up each week.Playing with my brother and my best mates is most special to me. It means more than winning.”

Thomas said Brennan hadrelished having less responsibility at the Cockatoos.

“Sometimes in struggling teams, the better players try to do everything and itfails on them,” Thomas said. “At this level each individual has to do their job.”

Singleton take on Southern Beaches at the same venue before NSW Country meet Queensland in colts (4.10pm) andseniors (5.50pm).

“The Singleton boys will be there, which is good,” Brennan said.

“We are two-from-two and looking at being the first Cockatoos team which has been undefeated in a while. It is a good culture, everyone gets along well. It is like a big family.”

Brennan is one of six NHRU players in the Cockatoos. Travis Brooke (Maitland) packs down at No.8, Jono O’Toole (Maitland) is halfback, Dane Sherratt (Waratahs) has been promoted to start at fly-half, Jack Arthur (Nelson Bay) is fullback and Sireli Bainivalu (Hamilton) is on the wing.

Queensland Country have been in camp for a week and have played against Brisbane Premier Rugby President’s XV on Sunday and touring side South Canterbury on Wednesday night.

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Former deputy speaker Don Nardella and former Speaker Telmo Languiller. Photos: Joe Armao, Jason SouthPolice areinvestigating the use of taxpayers’ moneyby the Victorian Parliament’s former speaker and his deputy after they both made questionable expenses claims for their seaside residences.
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Victoria Police have confirmed that matters relating to bothTelmo Languiller and Don Nardella had been assessed and had progressed to the”investigation stage” after they were referred in March.

“As the investigations are ongoing we will not be commenting further,” a police statement said.

In February,The Agerevealed that both men were claiming alucrative second residence allowance designed for country MPs,by moving their registered homes away from the western suburbs electorates they represent to Ocean Grove and Queenscliff.

Itwas revealed that Mr Nardella charged taxpayers $98,000 after claiming he had moved to Ocean Grove, which is more than 80 kilometres from his Melton electorate.

Mr Languiller, who claimed more than $37,800 in his second residence allowance for living in Queenscliff, agreed to repay the money immediately after it was revealed he had made the claims.

A report into the expenses scandal by auditors PwC was tabled in State Parliament in March.

The report confirmedMrLanguillerhad intended to move his home base to Queenscliff but, due to family circumstances, he spent little time there.

The report suggested that when Mr Nardella left his Ballarat home after the breakdown of his relationship in 2014 he should have taken the “simpler option” to live in a St Kilda property he owned or in Melton.

MrNardellachose to claim an Ocean Grove caravan as his primary residence because a St Kilda property he owned “was not spacious enough”, theaudit revealed.

The report showed MrNardellamade an arrangement with a family member to pay $200 a fortnight for the caravan so that he could maintain his second residence allowance.

The PwC report also revealed Mr Nardella failed to provide tax returns, travel records to and from his declared home base, and an address for health insurance or banking correspondence.

Former Speaker Telmo Languiller has repaid $37,800 he received under the second-residence allowance. Photo: Jason South

The only evidence Mr Nardella submittedto prove Ocean Grove was his home base was a driver’s licence, vehicle registration, electoral enrolment and receipts for capital improvements.

MrNardellainitially refused to repay the money, butagreed to repay $98,000 at the end of April, after he had been expelled from the parliamentary Labor Party.

Mr Nardella now sits on the crossbench while Mr Languiller recently returned to parliament after taking extended leave. He now sits on the backbench.

Fairfax Media has sought comment from MrLanguiller and Mr Nardella but both MPs have declined to comment.

The Premier’s office has been contacted for comment.

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Knights forward Mitch Barnett said the team were “very embarrassed” after Sunday’s second-half collapse against the Dragons.
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The Knights led 28-10 at half-time butthe Dragons packed on 22 unanswered points after the break.

HONEST: Mitch Barnett.

“We owe everyone; our families, ourselves, our coaching staff, our club and then the fans as well,” Barnett said. “We’re going to do everything we can this week to turn that around and put a strong performance in and hopefully get a win.”

It was the eighth timethis season Newcastle have held the lead at half-time, but only once have they gone on to claim victory – the round-10win over Canberra.

Barnett gave an insight into how Nathan Brown was feeling at full-time after Sunday’s defeat, which the coach described as the hardest loss to take this season.

“He said to us that our first half or 30minutes, was the best footy we’ve played while he’s been at the club,” Barnett explained.

“But then to do a complete 180and play some of the worst footy we’ve played, you could see the disappointment all over his face.”

* AFTER waiting all season for am opportunity, big prop Sam Mataora endured a frustrating return to the top grade on Sunday.

In 20 minutes against the Dragons, Mataora did not take a hit-up, according to NRL stats. He made 12 tackles as the Knights struggled to contain the home team.

* DESPITE a 21-16 loss to the Dragons on Sunday, Newcastle’s under-20s can potentially move into the top four with a win against Wests Tigers.

* WINGER Tom Hughes scored a hat-trick in Newcastle’s 32-20 NSW Cup win against Illawarra. Eighth-placed Newcastle face cellar dwellers Wests Tigers at Cessnock on Saturday.

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FRESH START: Shaun Kenny-Dowall.NEW recruit Shaun Kenny-Dowall admitted fearing thathis NRL career might be over before the Newcastle Knights threw him a lifeline.
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“Yeah, I think you do have those thoughts going through your mind,’’ Kenny-Dowall said after his first training session in Newcastle on Wednesday.

“But I tried to remain positive and stay training. I knew what direction I wanted to head in, and that was to still bein the NRL. Here I am at the Knights.’’

Kenny-Dowall’s contract withthe Roosters was terminated two weeks ago after he was arrested in May and charged with possession of cocaine. He was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond but escaped conviction at Dowling Centre Court last week after he pleaded guilty to carrying 0.29 grams of the drug.

On Tuesday, he signed with Newcastle until the end of the 2019 season.

“It’s not the ideal circumstances to come here and something that I’m not proud of,’’ he said.

“But I’m really thankful to the club. I really want to earn the respect of the club and the community and work really hard to repay the faith.’’

The New Zealand international was reluctant to discuss the night of his arrest, other than to say he had learned his lesson.“I think it’s been dealt with now,’’ he said. “It’s in the past. I had my day and now I’m moving forward and starting a new chapter at the Knights.’’

It is understood the Knights have included behavioural clauses in Kenny-Dowall’s contract to ensure he does not reoffend.

“Let’s just say Shaun understands very clearly the expectations of our club and our community,’’ Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said.

After playing in 234 NRL games for the Roosters–his only club–Kenny-Dowall said it would be hard to take if they were to win this season’s grand final.

“It would be very disappointing, to leave in those circumstances,’’ he said.

“But that’s out of my control now.I wish them all the best now for the rest of the season.’’

The 29-year-old might find himself back athis old home ground, opposing his former teammates, in less than a month.

“I’ve seen it’s coming up on the calendar,’’ he said.

“I’d love to go back to Allianz Stadium and be ready for that game.

“It would be pretty weird playing against the old club –I’ve only ever played for the Roosters –but at the same time it would be good to get it out of the road nice and early.’’

He will miss Sunday’s clash with Wests Tigers after straining a hamstring during a training session with his personal sprint coach.

“It’s not as bad as I first thought …hopefully I’ll be back in a couple of weeks,’’ he said.

The towering outside back had no qualms about leaving one of the NRL’s heavyweight teams to join the back-to-back wooden spooners.

“I’ve obviously been a part of a lot of successful teams and know what it takes to be successful,’’ he said.

“So I can offer that experience and hopefully I can help, on and off the field, to create a winning environment…I see it as a challenge.

“I really want to progress as a person and a player.

“I really think coming here to Newcastle I can help to progress and bea better player, person and leader.’’

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