Before every NRL match, Macksville’s Tyronne Roberts-Davis plays, he takes a moment to strap tape around his wrist and write a tribute to a “good mate”.
The name Baylin, etched on his wrist every time he steps on the field, is a tribute to Kempsey student Baylin Hoskin who took his own life in 2016.
“He was a good mate of mine. I wear it on my wrist every game that I play,” Macksville-born Roberts-Davis said.
Baylin and Roberts-Davis attended Kempsey’s St Paul’s College where their friendship grew over the eight years they were classmates.
Roberts-Davis offered support to his friend who at times struggled to fit in and their friendship continued when Roberts-Davis moved to the Gold Coast to pursue an NRL career at the end of Year 10.
His dream came true earlier this year when he made his NRL debut for the Gold Coast Titans in their round two clash against the Newcastle Knights and he has played every game since.
In the most important moments of his life, when his lifelong aspirations were coming true, Roberts-Davis’ thoughts turned to his friend.
“I wear it for Baylin and to show people that it’s okay to be different. You don’t have to put on a mask to fit in,” Roberts-Davis said.
“People will love you for you.”
The Gold Coast Titans first grade player hopes his testament will send a message to people that it’s okay to be different.
The 19-year-old said Baylin was a good friend, who cared for everyone and put other people before him.
Baylin’s mother Hayley Hoskin said Roberts-Davis’ tribute helps keep her son’s memory alive.
“As a mother, one of your fears is people will forget about him. It’s nearing 12 months and people forget, but Tyronne’s act shows that he remembers and will help others too,” Mrs Hoskin said.
Mrs Hoskin said the NRL player’s weekly gesture meant “so much” to the family.
“It brought tears to my eyes and I am utterly grateful of his support,” she said.
She expressed her gratitude towards Roberts-Davis with an emotional post on the Facebook page ‘Baylin’s Gift’, an organisation set up in memory of her son and aimed at tackling mental health in young people.
“We really appreciate that he thinks of Baylin at the most important moments of his life,” Mrs Hoskin said.
“He is making his first start in the NRL and he cares enough that Baylin is still on his mind.”
Mrs Hoskin says it helps raise awareness for mental health issues.
“If you're struggling then you need to speak to someone – it’s a great message Tyronne is sending to everyone,” she said.
“We don’t want these things to continue. They are preventable and it is still happening everyday.”
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