Natalie Baumann reckons she has the best sibling in the world in Newcastle Knights star Blake Green.
The injured NRL five-eighth, who missed the side’s opening round 32-16 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs last Friday night, rallied his team-mates on Monday (15 March) to add a bit of colour to their week by backing World Down Syndrome Day and the accompanying #LotsOfSocks campaign.
And, the troops assembled in their brightest footwear apparel, much to the delight of Green’s niece Marlie.
The adorable six-year-old has Down syndrome – and is her uncle’s biggest fan, too.
“Blake’s an amazing brother,” Mrs Baumann said.
“He’s been a constant support since Marlie was born.
“I can’t thank him and the [Newcastle] Knights enough for what they’re doing to raise awareness about World Down Syndrome Day and starting the conversation that it’s alright to be different.
“They’ve done a lovely job [today].
“Marlie’s certainly enjoying herself out there.
“I’m very proud of him.”
Green and his fellow Knights all wore brightly-coloured socks to this morning’s session, many of which acknowledged their junior rugby league clubs.
“World Down Syndrome Day is on Sunday 21 March,” the playmaker explained.
“So, I thought since we’re playing on Friday night (again), it was a good opportunity for us to raise awareness for support of the campaign – by wearing #LotsOfSocks – this week in the lead-up to the match.
“Unfortunately, we can’t wear them against the Warriors,” he added with a laugh.
“But, I think it’s a great concept.
“It also promotes discussion about the acceptance of all our differences as what makes us fantastic as an individual.
“So, with Marlie, it’s something extremely close to my heart.”
You can see Green’s relationship with his niece is special, as her face glowed as soon as she laid eyes on him.
“I’m thrilled she’s come up today from Sydney,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.
“She’s so excited to get a photo with all of us.
“For me, and I can only speak from my experience, it’s an important cause.
“Marlie’s such a beautiful little girl.
“I just want her to have the same opportunities in life as everyone else, whether that’s education or in the workplace.”
To find out more about World Down Syndrome Day, or to make a donation, visit https://www.downsyndrome.org.au/