Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley says his team will take bullying victim Quaden Bayles under their wing and let him lead them onto the field.
Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley says his team will take bullying victim Quaden Bayles under their wing and let him lead them onto the field.

Bullying victim given centre stage by All Stars

IN a heartwarming gesture, a victim of bullying that shocked Australia has been invited to lead the Indigenous side onto the field in Saturday night's All Stars game.

Quaden Bayles, just nine years old, was filmed by his distraught mother tearfully warning he wanted to commit suicide.

All Stars players saw the heartbreaking vision on Facebook and immediately invited Quaden - a South Sydney supporter - to lead their side out against the Maori All Stars.

"We want to give him some joy and happiness," Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley told The Daily Telegraph.

Quaden Bayles with Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell. Picture: Twitter
Quaden Bayles with Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell. Picture: Twitter

The Queensland boy - born with achondroplasia dwarfism - has previously been photographed with stars Latrell Mitchell and James Roberts.

Indigenous players involved in a WhatsApp group spoke about Quaden's plight on Thursday morning before he was asked to lead the side out and enter the dressing rooms before and after the match at Cbus Super Stadium.

Mitchell sent Bayles a message in a video post.

"Hey Quaden. How're you going Cuz?" Mitchell said.

"We just want to wish you all the best brother.

"We know you're going through a hard time right now. But the boys are here and we've got your back. We're here to support you bud.

"We just want to make sure that you're doing alright. And make sure that (you know) your mum's on your side and we're on your side. Just make sure you're just thinking the right things bud.

"Cos we want you around and we want you to lead us out on the weekend.

"It's going to mean more to us than it will to you, bud. Just make sure you're looking after yourself and hopefully we're going to see you in the next couple of days."

It is understood South Sydney's Cody Walker will bring Quaden into camp on Friday and again on Saturday. Quaden will walk onto the field holding the hand of Indigenous skipper Joel Thompson.

"The boys feel very strongly about stopping bullying," said Daley. "Hopefully we can give him an experience where he can forget about what happened to him.

"We want to give him some joy and happiness and make him feel special. No-one likes bullies and for someone to do it to this young kid is just awful. It would be fantastic if we can give him some joy in his life.

"I have seen the video. It was distressing. We spoke about it this morning as a group."

Comedian Rob Shehadie shared the video, which was viewed nearly four million times. It prompted Maoris and Parramatta star Brad Takairangi to post: "Love that the Indigenous boys have reached out to the family and he will be leading them out on Saturday night at the All Stars.

"(I) will be sure to go find him and show some love as well."'

NRL senior manager, Indigenous strategy, Mark deWeerd added: "The boys are keen for Quaden to be around the team on game day.

"We are just working through whether we can make that happen. They are quite open to what that is. The players would like to give him a positive experience."

Yarraka Bayles and her son Quaden. Picture: Jono Searle
Yarraka Bayles and her son Quaden. Picture: Jono Searle

Thousands of upset Australians expressed anger and offered support to Quaden through social media.

Quaden's mum Yarraka Bayles captured the moment her son was distraught at being bullied at school with her son threatening to take his life on the video.

Still dressed in uniform from his Brisbane primary school, Quaden was "in hysterics", according to Yarraka.

On the video, Yarraka said: "I've just picked my son up from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal, and I want people to know - parents, educators, teachers - this is the effect that bullying has,"

"This is the impact that bullying has on a nine-year-old kid that just wants to go to school, get an education and have fun.

"But every single freaking day, something happens - another episode, another bullying, another taunt, another name-calling.

"I've got a son that is suicidal almost every single day. Every time there is a triggering - anything that happens at school or while we're in public, which is almost every time we're in public."

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