Steve O’Keefe on verge of Test recall with spin twins on the cards for Sydney cricket Test

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Australia captain Steve Smith says Australia will consider playing two spinners in the third Test – with Steve O’Keefe poised to make his return to the baggy green in Sydney.
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O’Keefe did not travel to Adelaide with his Sydney Sixers teammates for the New Year’s Eve Big Bash League clash with the Strikers. It’s understood he will fly over in the afternoon if he is not picked in the Test squad, which would be a major surprise.

The left-arm finger spinner’s last Test was in Pallekele against Sri Lanka, where he was injured midway through the game. He has played all his three Tests partnering offie Nathan Lyon.

Selectors will name their squad for the third Test after the completion of the final day in Melbourne.

Smith, who refused to endorse Lyon on Thursday night, did not rule out the prospect of Australia playing spin twins at the SCG.

“I guess it would depend on the wicket. I know in Shield cricket this year the wickets have been spinning quite a lot, so we’ll look at that and it is a possibility,” Smith said on the ABC Grandstand on Friday morning before the start of play.

“I’ve had a quick chat to Boof and Trevor Hohns last night, I think we’re going to wait until this Test match is over and see where things are at moving forward.

“Obviously the bowlers have still bowled quite a lot this game and they’ve had a pretty big summer, so there’s a few things to talk about.”

Former Test vice-captain Brad Haddin said Australia would “definitely look at two spinners”.

“The talk is the wicket’s been pretty dry this year in state games and the two games I’ve witnessed with the BBL the wicket’s been really dry,” Haddin said.

“I think two spinners is definitely an option.”

Haddin said Lyon would appreciate bowling on his home track.

“Nathan’s our most experienced player in the Test team. He’s played 60 Tests now and you can’t hide behind the fact that there’s always pressure playing for Australia, not just from the outside but the pressure you put on yourself to perform and Nathan’s no different to anyone else,” Haddin said.

“He’ll enjoy getting back to this SCG wicket especially if it’s as dry as it’s been the last few Shield games.”

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South Brisbane rape accused denied bail

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Barrister Cliff Crawford represented one of the accused rapists in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday. Photo: Tony Moore The alleged victim had been out with friends at Boundary Street, West End. Photo: Michelle Smith
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One of the men accused of the alleged violent rape of a 20-year-old woman, which left her blacked out and bleeding at South Brisbane in April 2011, will remain behind bars until at least the end of January after bail was refused on Friday morning.

Police outlined DNA evidence found at the scene an on the young woman’s underclothes which they said showed police had a “strong case” against the 24-year-old man from Auchenflower who had applied for bail in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Matt Kahler told the bail hearing the evidence against the defendant was strong.

“(The victim) suffered horrible injuries,” he said.

Sergeant Kahler said DNA from the victim’s underpants and a cigarette in the area near the crime scene matched the DNA of the defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Sergeant Kahler told the court the victim “blacked out” and was found “bleeding down her legs”.

“She was a virgin at the time of the offence,” he said.

Sergeant Kahler said the accused 24-year-old bar worker spent time in New South Wales and was an “unacceptable risk” of not returning to court if bail was granted.

The 24-year-old’s barrister, Cliff Crawford, applied to have the court refuse the publication of the graphic details of the allegations.

That was refused by Magistrate Robert Walker.

Mr Crawford said his client only visited friends in New South Wales and lived with his mother in Brisbane.

He said the man’s family had offered to pay a financial surety to allow their son to be granted bail and that he had travelled during an apprenticeship.

Mr Crawford acknowledged “they were serious offences”.

Mr Walker said police submissions were evidence of “a strong case” and decided against granting bail, largely on the basis of the serious of the injuries during the “violent rape” and the evidence submitted by police.

“It is at the most serious end of the spectrum of the offence of rape and the case against the defendant is strong,” he said.

Mr Walker noted the accused man had no criminal history and had never fled bail.

However, after taking time to consider applications from both the police and Mr Crawford on behalf of the 24-year-old accused, Mr Walker ruled against bail.

He noted the “degree of violence against the victim” and the possibility the 24-year-old may flee.

“It is not acceptable for the community to accept that risk,” he said.

“So for these reasons I refuse bail.”

The 24-year-old was remanded in custody to re-appear on January 30, to face three charges of rape, two charges of sexual assault while in company and deprivation of liberty.

Police will allege the 24-year-old was one of two men who raped a 20-year-old woman in Manning Street South Brisbane on April 15, 2011.

About an hour afterwards a second Brisbane man, a 32-year-old from Ashgrove, appeared briefly in the Roma Street Magistrates Court on after being extradited from New South Wales on Thursday.

He is also charged with three counts of rape, two counts of sexual assault while in company and deprivation of liberty connected to the 2011 South Brisbane rape.

The tall 32-year-old Ashgrove man, with short dark hair wearing a dark green jumper, nodded briefly from the dock and mouthed words towards three people in the court; two woman and a man.

One woman blew kisses back to him. They made no comment as they left court.

The 32-year-old was remanded until January 10, 2017 when he will apply for bail in the larger Brisbane Magistrates Court.

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Letters to the editor

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Alan Birchmore, of Newnham, says as the Federal Member for Bass, Andrew Nikolic was diligent, extremely hardworking and successful. Nikolic praiseSADLY, it is not unusual to read envious letters when an ex-politician is appointed to the public service, but the recent letter concerning Andrew Nikolic was particularly irksome. Joining the Army as a foot soldier, through hard work, courage and ability, Mr Nikolic worked his way up to the rank of Brigadier and was an international fellow of the United States War College.
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He commanded Australian troops in Southern Iraq, while concurrently serving as chief of staff of the British Forces in Basra. He was chief of staff Australian National Headquarters Middle East operations and Afghanistan. Closer to home, he was Commanding Officer of the Parachute School, leading the internationally respected Red Berets.

Mr Nikolic was a senior adviser to the Minister for Defence and during his service in the field, wore Australia’s uniform bravely. He was awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal and was a recipient of the Order of Australia. Academically he secured two Bachelors and a Masters degree.

As a Liberal Bass MP, Mr Nikolic was diligent, extremely hardworking and successful in so many of his representations to Government on our behalf. Australia is not so overloaded with talent today that we can afford to lose the services of such a valuable person when leaving politics and choosing to continue his public service.

Alan Birchmore AO, Newnham.Free Trade AgreementTHE China-Australia Free Trade Agreement has been in place for one year.Demand in China for Australian products has boomed in that time.The value of Australian exports to China has at least doubled due to lower or zero tariffs.

Not only is this beneficial to our agricultural products, including mangoes, oranges, grapes, cherries, wine, cheese and milk products, abalone and honey, but also manufactured products such as therapeutic medicines, milk powders and a range of other products.

A boom in visitors from China is providing increased activity in our hospitality industries, especially here in Tasmania with hotels, B and Bs, restaurants, hire cars and all aspects of our provisions for tourists reaping benefit.We must welcome all these developments and their widespread positive impact on our economy.

Dick James, Launceston.The extreme rightPRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull is likened in many respects for the core beliefs of Robert Menzies, but is a prisoner of the extreme right of his party who are holding him to ransom.

Menzies faced a similar position when leader of The United Australia Party which forced his resignation as Prime Minister, Arthur Fadden from The Country Party was elevated to Prime Minister but could not continue the support of independents Coles and Wilson.

Labor leader John Curtin gained their support and was elected Prime Minister who led Australia through its darkest hour and distinguished himself as a great leader during World War II.

Menzies regrouped and made his famous “The Forgotten People” speech and formed the Liberal Party and won the 1949 federal election. Australia has seen the split in conservative ranks before on this occasion. The forgotten people are turning to One Nation.

Labor has been in the wilderness since the 1955 split and the Whitlam experiment was not continued by Hawke and Keating, which gave stable government. Rudd was an egotist and could not delegate and ostracised himself to the public service and Gillard carried the workload.

Turnbull should do a Menzies and take on the extreme right on, and win back the forgotten people from One Nation. A Churchill quote to extreme right: “You do your worst and I will do my best, choose for yourself and common sense will prevail”.

Brian P. Khan, Bridport.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Apr 20

Ranking it with the best

PODIUM FINISH: Warrnambool driver Darren Mollenoyux finished third in the World Series Sprintcars A-Main at Avalon on Friday night. ZOOM, ZOOM: Simpson driver Tim Rankin produced quick time at Premier Speedway on Sunday in a big result for his small team. Picture: Amy Paton
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SIMPSON driverTim Rankin made a fast-start to his 2017 campaign, notching quick time in his first World Series Sprintcars meeting of the season on Sunday night.

The dairy farmer upstaged some of his big-name rivals to post 10.974 seconds in the rain interrupted time trials at the New Year’s Day meeting at Premier Speedway.

DARK SKIES: Sprintcar fans put their umbrellas to good use as rain falls during the time trials during the New Year’s Day meeting.

Rankin, 28, rated the result “a bonus” for his small team, which bypassed the first eight rounds of the WSS season.

He started off third in the A-Main final before crashing out spectacularly, flipping multiple times,two laps in.

Jack Lee

“We’re small budget team and we can’t do much,” Rankinsaid after time trials.

“But we had a bigger motor we wanted to get right for the classic.”

GRAND PLANS: Allansford sprintcar driver Tim Van Ginneken hopes to turn his home-track form around this summer.

Rankin will compete at the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic –the sport’s pinnacle in Australia –later this month.

“This year we have no expectations –we’re here to enjoy it,” he said.

“We haven’t missed one for a while now. We’ve made the A-Main four times but last year had a DNF (did not finish).”

Rankin was the only driver to break the 10-second barrier, with Warrnambool competitor James McFadden the next best with 11.001.

The south-west pair were in the same flight, with South Australian Steven Lines (11.162) claiming top honours in flight one.

Terang racer Jack Lee won his two heats after at the front of the pack.

Lee said it was important to take a positive mindset into the heats after a tough time trial.

“We missed time and were unlucky with the weather,” he said.

“You pick your bag up and keep going down the road.”

Fellow south-west drivers –Simpson’s John Vogels and Purnim’s Dion Bellman –were also among the heat winners.

Western Australian Scott Reilly andSouth Australian duo Mitch Foster and Jake Tranter rounded out the heat victors.

The top-eight shootout, in which Warrnambool matesMcFadden and Jamie Veal were poised to go head-to-head in the gold race,was scrapped after showers impacted the program late.

The B-Main and A-Main were then run back-to-back.

Nine-time series champion Brooke Tatnell started off pole in the B-Main and held sway. Tatnell advanced along with Tranter, Tim Hutchins, Andrew Wright, Adam King and Braydan Willmington.

Vogels and Mailors Flat’s Peter Doukas crashed out two laps into the second-chance 15-lap final.

The A-Main had a strong south-west flavourwith McFadden, Veal, Rankin, Darren Mollenoyux, who finished third at Avalon on Friday night, Tim Van Ginneken and Corey McCullagh featured.

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Apr 20

Knight and Dragon in quest for victory

A KNIGHT’S TALE: Budderoo Knight moves into a winning lead in the feature race at Moruya’s Christmas Cup. The gelding will race again at the Narooma Cup on Monday.There could be no better way for a racing syndicate to start 2017 than with a win, and in the case of the owners of brothers Budderoo Knight and Budderoo Dragon, it could be a double celebration.
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The equine half brothers, born two years apart, will line-up in the feature races at Moruya’s big holiday meeting on Monday.

The traditional race day attracts a huge crowd, with Budderoo Knight to start one of the favourites in the $35,000 Club Narooma Cup (1425m) and Budderoo Dragon looking to find winning form again in the Lynch’s Hotel Narooma Town Plate (1200m).

Experienced jockey Grant Buckley will ride the duo for father and son training duo Robert and Luke Price.

Budderoo Knight, a grey son of Pendragon, powered to the finish from back to win at Moruya last start which followed a fourth and sixth in Highway Handicaps in Sydney.

Price senior feels Budderoo Knight is well up to winning the main event.

“He is a nice horse who is up to city grade,” he said.

“He has come on since his last run and I have kept him on the fresh side. I haven’t done a lot with him because of the hot weather but he is ready to go.”

Budderoo Knight spent a lengthy time off after a paddock accident curtailed his career.

The eye catching gelding steps up in class but receive a big weight advantage over the top weight Nat King Ku who continues to race well with big weights.

Chief In Command has figured prominently in feature races he has contested this campaign.

He will carry only 56.5 kilograms after the claim for Chelsea McFarlane and should be in the finish from gate five.

Budderoo Knight has won four of his ten starts for his large group of owners.

“The owners have had two winners on the one day before but not with these same two horses ,” Price said.

Budderoo Dragon will be the first of the two to race and Price is hopeful of a forward showing on a track where he is well suited.

“He won the same race last year. He is better suited to the 1200 metres and got ran off his legs last start,” Price said.

“They always roll along at Moruya and he should improve.”

Count Dekroner easily beat home Budderoo Dragon last start and will start favourite despite drawing the outside gate.

Budderoo Dragon has won two of his three starts at Moruya.

Gates open at 11am for Monday’s Narooma Cup, with the first race at 1.04pm.

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Apr 20

Game watch

Four players work together to bring liberty and democracy to some bug aliens in Helldivers.SOMEWHERE at the crossroads of ­Magicka, Starship Troopers and Aliens lies the madness and joy of Helldivers.
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Helldivers is a hardcore twin-stick shooter I picked up as a couple of gifts for some old friends so we could play something insane together for the holidays.

I was expecting a challenging and ­chaotic game with a heavy focus on teamwork and communication and that’s exactly what I got.

However, what I didn’t expect was Helldiver’s Starship Troopers-style naked satire of fascism and ultra-patriotism which recent events have made tragically topical.

You and your friends take on the role of the titular Helldivers, an elite military force bringing “managed democracy” to the enemies of Super Earth.

Up to four players take part in missions fighting one of three vastly different ­factions.

You spread liberty and peace throughout the stars by completing objectives like activating SAM sites, blowing up alien nests and capturing oil sites.

While the temptation is to run and gun, if you don’t work together you won’t last two minutes, which is something a friend of mine and I found out the hard way.

One of the twists is that almost any weapon or ability players use can kill other players.

This is especially important since all extra equipment and resources have to be dropped from space by supersonic drop pods, which squish enemies and friends alike.

The variety in the loadouts and abilities is mind-numbing and I can see myself playing for a long time.

If you’re bored with your current gaming line up and want something to bring you and your friends closer together while inadvertently blowing each other apart, then this is worth a look.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday’s Sunraysia Daily 31/12/2016.To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here

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Apr 20

Pyro priest lights the sky

LIGHTING UP THE SKY: Father Anthony Koppman, better know by his alter ego Holy Smoke, is back in Armidale for his 10th anniversary fireworks display and it promises to be the biggest and loudest show yet. Photo: Matt BedfordFATHERAnthony Koppman is back in town to light-up Armidale’s New Year’s Eve party, much to the envy of surrounding towns.
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Potential poachers have persistently pursued the pyrotechnic priest.

But fortunately for Armidale, Tamworth and Glen Innes will either have to travel to see theshow or sit in the dark.

“I’m committed to Armidale,” he said.

“I don’t have any other plans.

“This is where I started the New Year’s Eve fireworks10 years ago.

“And I’ve been looking forward to coming back to light-up the sky.

“I’ve got a special heart for Armidale.”

This year, the show promises new and exciting colours, shapes and sounds.

And with a perfect weather forecast, Father Koppman plans to make it a night to remember.

“We’re bringing in some new products this year that we haven’t seen before, which are in line with what Sydney will be using,” he said.

“We’ll have a lot more aqua, a lot more brilliant colours that will burn in the sky for longer.”

While Holy Smoke will ensure the night goes off with a bang, the festivities will also include food vendors, market stalls, and children’s entertainment.

The party idea came from the Armidale Youth Council forum and young people will be at the heart of the festivities.

A DJ will kick the party on after the 9pm show and take the celebration through to the midnight finale.

“The big one is at 9 o’clock for the families, which will go for about 15 minutes,” Father Koppman said.

“Some of the fireworks will go more than 100m into the air.

“We will get them as high as we can.”

The best vantage points will be from Civic Park but viewing will be good throughout the city.

“Last year people from Kelly Plains commented that they could see them,” he said.

“So you can watch it from your back porch ifyou like.”

Event organiser Jane Guilfoyle said she was expecting big crowds this year.

“It’s a lot like the Autumn Festival,” she said

“The aim is to promote safe partying.

“We’ll have Peter Stanley on acoustic guitar and after 9pm, DJ’s will be performing for the younger crowds.

“There will be rides for the children, wood-fired pizza, ice cream from Neville’s and coffee.”

The party starts at 6pm in Civic Park, with the first fireworks display at 9pm and second display at midnight.

It’s BYO chairs and picnic blankets.

And Guyra residents can take a free bus from the big lamb at 6pm.

“It’s going to be spectacular,” Father Koppman said.

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Apr 20

YEAR IN REVIEW: September-DecemberPHOTOS

YEAR IN REVIEW: September-December | PHOTOS TweetFacebookSeptember:Community support at Jamie ‘Dodge’ Manning fundraiser:
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SCONE’S community spirit is on show at The Golden Fleece Hotel. Residents began arriving at the hotel from 2pm on Saturday, for the Jamie “Dodge” Manning Charity Ride Fundraiser. MORE HERE.

Upper Hunter Local Government Elections:

The Upper Hunter Shire election will be held on Saturday, September 10. This year there are 13 candidates for the local elections. MORE HERE.

New council meets for first time:

WAYNE Bedggood has returned as mayor of Upper Hunter Shire Council with Maurice Collison remaining his deputy. Both were elected unopposed at an extraordinary meeting onMonday night. MORE HERE.

Dressed to impress – Year 12 formal:

THERE was plenty of glitz and glamour on show atScone High School’s Year 12 formal. MORE HERE.

Red carpet rolled out:

SCONE Films rolled out the red carpet on Saturday night for the eighth annual Scone FilmFest. MORE HERE.

Popularly-elected mayor proves unpopular:

THE people of the Upper Hunter have spoken. A referendum during Saturday’s local government elections handed voters the chance to decide if they wanted to electthe mayor instead of local councillors. MORE HERE.

October:Riders show they’re a cut above:

RIDERSconverged on Sconefor the Hunter Valley Cutting Horse Club’s October Show over the weekend. MORE HERE.

Jet safe, sound after cave rescue:

A DOG that became trappedat the bottom of a shaft for more than 24 hours has been saved during a dramatic rescuenear Murrurundi. MORE HERE.

After 99 years, Murrurundi remembers Beersheba Day:

THE Murrurundi Troop of the 12th Australian Light Horse invites residents to attend the commemorative service this weekendto mark the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba. MORE HERE.

Adam was one of a kind, says family:

THE heartbroken family of Adam O’Regan has paid tribute to the popular Scone real estate agent a day after the Gundy car accident that claimed his life as well as those of two passengers. MORE HERE.

Historic Hurricane ready for take off:

AN historicHawkerHurricane that has been carefully restoredwill soon be officially unveiled to the public during a display over Scone Airport. MORE HERE.

November:Scone gets into spirit of Melbourne Cup:

PEOPLE around the country are celebrating the race that stops a nation. MORE HERE.

Big plans for library’s future:

WOULD you like to see the Scone Library move to a new location? This is just one of the possible options for the future after Upper Hunter Shire Council listed it as a top priority under theCommunity Strategic Plan 2027. MORE HERE.

Let’s tackle this issue together:

A HUGE turnout is expected for the Positive Education forum at Scone High School next week. MORE HERE.

Hurricane’s historic Scone flight:

THE buzz surrounding the Hawker Hurricane brought thousands to Scone Airport on Saturday. And, the crowds were not disappointed. MORE HERE.

Connor’s seventh heaven, Williamson dominates:

NATHAN Connor has built his reputationon making plenty of runs at the top of the order.But,after being dismissed for just seven on Saturday, he still found a way to play a match-winning role–this time with the ball. MORE HERE.

December:Community leading the way:

“POSITIVE psychology education will notonly improve the well-being of our youth, it will also improve the well-being and prosperity of our whole community.” ‘Where There’s A Will’ co-founder Pauline Carrigan producedthis powerful message during a forumat Scone High School on Monday night. MORE HERE.

I’m very proud of everyone – principal Lindy Hunt:

SCONE High School principal Lindy Hunt is an extremely proud woman today. And, she has every reason to feel that way. MORE HERE.

Students beaming from HSC results:

IT was all smiles at St Joseph’s High School Aberdeen on Thursday. MORE HERE.

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Mar 20

Agar breaks hearts of Tremain’s Renegades

SPEEDSTER: Chris Tremain steams in during his good spell against the Scorchers, his side couldn’t get the chocolates though. Photo: GETTY IMAGESFormer Western Zone opening bowler Chris Tremain acquitted himself well with the ball at Etihad Stadium on Thursday night, but his efforts weren’t enough to help his Melbourne Renegades over the line in their second game of the Big Bash League, against the Perth Scorchers.
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All the Renegades’ top fivecontributed as the hosts compiled 8-148 from their 20 overs, before Tremain tied up his end with the new-ball, bowling 13 dot balls from his four-over spell –which netted him 0-19.

The Renegades looked to be in control of the game too, until West Indian superstar Dwayne Bravo went down after bowling one over, leaving the Melbourne side down a bowler and one of their star fieldsmen.

Bravo’s injury forced Melbourne skipper Aaron Finch to bowl three overs, which he normally wouldn’t. That proved the decisive factor as Finch charged himself with bowling the final over,from which the Scorchers needed 12 to win.

With the Scorchers needing three from the final ball of the thriller, Finch promptly dished up a rank full toss forAshton Agar (10 not out), who gleefully pumped it for six to seal the win.

That came after Michael Klinger’s 55-ball knock of 72 and Mitch Marsh’s 22-ball 34.

The Renegades will view the loss as a serious missed opportunity after thumping the Sydney Thunder in their opening game a week ago.

Marcus Harris (25), Finch (24), Cameron White (37), Callum Ferguson (28) and Bravo (23) lifted their side to a more than competitive 8-148, Tremain ended the innings 0 not out from two balls.

Klinger, opening the batting, made a huge difference at the top after Shaun Marsh (7) was dismissed early, Tremain taking the catch off the bowling of mesmerising West Indian spinner Sunil Narine.

Can you believe it?! Ashton Agar, take a bow! #BBL06pic.twitter南京夜网/MQctIL1xkK

— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) December 29, 2016This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Mar 20

The Express’ number 7: Grass Patch gun thieves arrested

The Express’ number 7: Grass Patch gun thieves arrested Photo: Esperance Police
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TweetFacebookis counting down the top 10 most read stories of 2016. Here’s what came in at number seven.

September 16, 2016:Esperance Detectivesarrested two men in relation to the theft of weapons at a farming property near Grass Patch.

A third man has been arrested and wasexpected to appear in The Esperance Magistrates Court on October 4.

Esperance Detectives allegeat about 1am on August 29,2016, burglary andstealing offences committed on farmhouses located on aproperty near Grass Patch.

Duringthe course of the burglaries the offenders stole a total of eight licensed firearms,about 600 rounds of associated ammunition, other weapons, cash andjewellery.

Since the time of the incident Esperance Detectives, have executed a total of six criminal investigation act searches and two firearms act search warrants.

A number offirearms and the associated ammunition has been recovered to date.

As a result of these inquiries the offenders responsible for the burglary and stealingoffences have been identified and charged.

Inquiries into the whereabouts of theoutstanding property items are continuing.

On September 8, 2016,Esperance manLuke Peter George Wyldewas chargedwith two charges of aggravated burglary and stealing.

The32-year-oldappeared in the EsperanceMagistrates Court on September 9,2016, and was given bail to reappear on October 4,2016.

On September 15, 2016, NulsenmanTimothy Gregory Mathew Galvinwascharged with two counts of aggravated burglary and stealing.

The 30-year-oldappeared in theEsperance Magistrates Court on September 16 2016, and has been remanded incustody to reappear onSeptember 29,2016.

Also on September 12, 2016, a 39-year-old Nulsen manwas arrested and charged withtwo counts of aggravated burglary and stealing.

Esperance Detectivesallege this mandrove thevehicle that was involved in the burglary and stealing matters and will appear inEsperance Magistrates Court on October 4, 2016.

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Mar 20

Confirmed changes to freight yard

Transport Minister Jacinta Allan has confirmed the freight yard at the Maryborough Rail Station will receive alterations as part of the Murray Basin Rail Project.
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Despite rising concern from various sections of the community that the area would be made redundant, Ms Allan said the freight yard and a nearby passing loop would be retained in the $416 million project.

“The loop at Maryborough will be retained and the freight yard will be reconfigured to accommodate 40-wagon grain trains,” she said in a written statement to The Courier.

“The (Murray Basin) project office will also be at the Maryborough station so that residents and businesses can easily talk to the project team.”

The exact changes to the Maryborough area remain unclear, with planning still being completed; however, it’s understood the changes will allow the yard to house longer trains.

Ms Allan’s confirmation that the freight yard will be retained is welcome news for many, with both the Rail Revival Alliance and Central Goldfields Shire Council both fearful it would be made redundant –potentially impacting economic advantages for the township.

In September, Central Goldfields Shire chief executiveMark Johnston penned a letter to Ms Allan expressing concerns over what the potential removal of infrastructure would mean for the shire.

“These would appear to council to be important infrastructure that could provide opportunity for Central Goldfields Shire to develop business opportunities off; and to enable ready access for the the socially disadvantage (sic.) to access the retail centre of Maryborough,” he wrote.

RRA president Noel Laidlaw said it was “fantastic” the yard will be retained, but reserved judgement on its success until full planning is released.

“The devil is in the detail.But we really need to know what the details.

“How many roads are going to be left (in the yard)?”

It’s understood V/Line is working with various freight operators to ensure the reconfigured yard meets their needs.

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Mar 20

White spot virus found at another prawn farm

DISEASED: A prawn infected with the white spot disease. Photo: Biosecurity QueenslandBIOSECURITY scientists are destocking a fifth aquaculture farm on the Logan River as they continue to respond to an outbreak of white spot disease in prawns.
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A Biosecurity Queensland spokesperson said they had received positive test results from the farm for the virus that causes the disease.

Earlier this month theLogan River was closed to the commercial and recreational take of crustaceans like prawns and crabs.

The spokesperson said the latest farm to be identified was about four kilometres downriver from the other four premises that hadalready been destocked.

“At this stage it is not yet clear how the virus has come to be present on this premises,” the spokesperson said.

There were three other aquaculture farms –one of which had no prawn stock – nearby.

“Treatment of infected ponds with chlorine has commenced and heightened surveillance measures in the other nearby premises are in place.”

WSD is a viral infection that affects crustaceans.

Australia had previously been WSD free and the recent cases were the first confirmed in an aquaculture setting.

Queensland Boating and Fishing Patrol has asked recreational fishers to report unusual signs in prawns and crabs.

Prawns with WSD may have a loose shell with numerous white spots (0.5-2.0mm in diameter) on the inside surface of the shell and a pink to red discolouration.

Signs to look for include:

unusual mortalityprawns coming to the edge or water surface of the pondprawns demonstrating unusual swimming patternsreduced feeding and failure to thriveAnyone who suspects a disease on their property must report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

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Mar 20

What next: Ben Gillies on life after Silverchair

What next: Ben Gillies on life after Silverchair Born to rock: Ben Gillies, 37, in Newcastle, talks about plans for a new solo album, his beverage company and Silverchair. Picture: Marina Neil
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TweetFacebookIt’s not about how big Silverchair has gone or what we achieved. If you love music, and writing music, and playing music, it’s part of who you are.

Ben GilliesNEW MUSICNow, he is nearing completion of a new album, to be released under his own name, in 2017.

While he and his wife Jackie have called Melbourne home for the last four years, he has been making the album in Byron Bay, working with hot young producer Jordan Power, originally from Maitland. Powerhas played a role in works by the likes ofAngus and Julia Stone, Xavier Rudd, U2, Bruce Springsteen, and Lady Gaga.

“It’s been just him and me in the studio,” Gillies says of working with Power. “In the studio is like being on tour. You develop your own language.

“It’s cool, we hang out. I really enjoy working with him.

“He knows, he understands the ebbs and flows in the studio. He knows when to leave me alone when I’m playing. He’ll jump in and say, ‘that was cool, work on that’. He knows when I’m in a low. I don’t want to stay low, if nothing feels like it’s rolling, he will push me to get through it. All of sudden, something clicks. He’ll send me on a two-hour productive spike.

“My point: we understand each other’s process.”

He’s got one more recording session booked in with Power at Byron in January and expects to have the last of 10 songs wrapped up early in 2017, with the album dropping by mid-year, through Golden Robot Records.

Making music is an essential part of Gillies’ life –as it has been since he was an adolescent jamming with his mates in the tiny bedroom of his family home on Smith Street, Merewether. It was in that creative environmentTomorrowwas born.“I remember it so clearly,” Gillies says of the session where Johns tumbled out the chorus to the song that catapulted them to fame.

He called Johns later from his dad’s study and said come around in the next couple of days and we’ll finish that song.

“We just sat there and busted it out,” Gillies recalls of the next time they met up.

Creating songs ischallenging, and ultimately satisfying for him.

“i don’t like any rules,” he says of the process. “Whatever feels good.

“It could be on guitars, sometimes piano, could be a block of words.

“I find lyrics challenging. But I have a system. A thought, or something I want to say, and sentences start to pop out.

“My lyric sheets look like the scribbling of a mad man. Certain works, certain phrases will paint a picture in my mind.. Then I throw my ideas down on paper, it starts moulding itself. I don’t know how to explain it.

The first “Tomorrow” video clip“Like a soup, it sits on the oven. It’s a reduction, kind of makes itself once I get all the ideas down.”

This time Gillies has been playing most of the instruments on the recording – drums, guitar, piano. “It’s mostly real instruments,” he says. “There are some electronic bits, but they are not the driving force.”

What is the sound?

Gillies’ immediate response: “Let’s just say, it’s rock.”

Gillies has not made a decision about supporting the album release with a tour, but he soundslike iswas leaning towards doing it.

“I need to get a little more match fit, in terms of singing on stage,” he says. “I haven’t had the experience. Wish I did more singing earlier. I wish I sang more in Silverchair, to be honest. Even if it was bv [backing vocals], but I didn’t.

“It’s confronting, it’s scary. But f – – – it, you only live once. No use sitting around, twiddling your thumbs being scared . . .

“I would be happy to get up and play in front of 10 people and have the best time in life. That’s where my head is at.”

Gillies stopped drinking alcohol three years ago. He estimates he’s consumed had a total of a litre of alcohol – tequila to be exact – in the last four years, and all of that while testing product for his 100percent brand. The 100percent range is two ready-to-drink products, at 6.6% alcohol – one with blood orange and bitters, the other with lime and agave nectar.

“It’s an interesting position to be in; I own a booze company. But I don’t judge anyone. For me, running the business, writing music, helping Jackie with her stuff [she is, of course, a star on the reality TV series, Real Housewives of Melbourne], I’ve got so much going on. Not being a drinker, it’s kind of changed my life.”

While he and Jackie enjoy Melbourne, Gillies doesn’t spend much time chasing live music. But then again, he says he never did, even in the Silverchair days. “I want to know if I’m going to see a band, that I can dig it. It’s all about relatability.”

SilverchairThe heady days with Silverchair will be part of who Ben Gillies is forever. But, despite the global success, he says it was never about the fame.

“It always comes back to the music,” he says in a stream-of-consciousness thought bubble. “All the other stuff melts away.

“For me, if Silverchair did nothing and never went anywhere, the way I feel about music would still be the same. I would still have to satisfy those musical urges.

“Silverchair is a very large part of what I’ve done with my time on the big rolling ball, but, I guess, music becomes you. The magic of a band is the collective of the people in that band. Outside of that band, be it Silverchair or whoever, you have your own personal relationship with music. However you satisfy it, you find your own way.

“To me, it’s the same stuff – writing recording and playing. It’s pretty simple really.”

Would he get a new buzz out of a Silverchair reunion?

“If Silverchair is doing something again, that would be great, but…. if or when that happens, I don’t know . . .

“To me where the band was left, it was like there was no bookend. Kind of like, I felt were were midway through chapter 8 of a 12-chapter book and then we stopped writing.

“It was a hard one for me. When we wentinto indefinite hiatus, it was a fancy way of saying, ‘we’ll play some more music if we like it.’ ”

Post-Silverchair, Gillies has grown as a businessman and a husband. He’s found another life besides rock’n’roll drummer in one of the greatest bands in the world.

But.

“I love Silverchair. I love Dan and Chris.

“We’ve had an extraordinary experience. The only people who could possibly know are the three of us.

“When we play together, there is an undeniable magic.

“I do miss it, of course I do. It’s like a drug that has no side effect.”