Tackling bullies head-on
TITANS rugby league football players descended on the area yesterday to spread a message to primary school children about the importance of standing up against bullying.
Schools at Broadwater, Coraki, Woodburn and Evans Head were targeted by four players yesterday, while another group spent time at schools between Ballina and Lennox Head.
At Coraki both the public school and the St Joseph's Catholic primary schools were treated to an up close and personal encounter with front row forward Luke Douglas and outside back Anthony Don.
Well-known local league referee and now Northern Rivers Game Development Officer for National Rugby League Kel Menchin took the big boys under his wing and ferried them from school to school.
Luke, 26, is currently in his second year with the Titans after seven years with the Cronulla Sharks. But he grew up in Yamba and played his first games with the Yamba Dolphins, now the Lower Clarence Magpies.
"I used to play against Evans Head and Casino and we used to stop at the shop here in Coraki and get a feed," he told his enraptured audience.
Anthony Don, 25, grew up in Grafton, playing soccer for 10 years before switching to league and playing for the ghosts from the age of 14.
During his best season with the Grafton club the rugby league convert scored a remarkable 40 tries.
The main message the Titans players were trying to get across yesterday was to stand up for your mates and stop bullying when you see it.
"Tackle bullying head on," they told the students at St Josephs.
"If it gets bad, talk to your friends, or your teachers, your uncle or auntie."
Anthony was on the receiving end of a bad hair cut when he was in Year 4 and the constant teasing made him feel sad. He stayed home from school, feigning sickness.
"I didn't want to be teased," he recalled.
"Just remember that words can't hurt you if you're tough," said Kel
Just as important as throwing your shoulders back and toughing it out was the message that anyone could stamp out bullying by standing up to the bully and sticking up for victims.
The Titans left the school students with a quick pointer on healthy eating.
"Two fruits and five vegetables every day," said Anthony.