Why this Ipswich youngster was invited onto the field
IT'S a moment all young Ipswich rugby league players dream about but few get to live.
Standing in Suncorp Stadium, minutes before kick-off, thousands of dedicated fans looking on as some of the league's top players stream onto the field.
That's how Max Bishop spent his Friday night.
He brought the match ball onto the field.
"It was so cool," Max, 11, said.
"You don't usually get a reaction out of me but . . . it was really good."
Last year Max, a promising and dedicated young athlete, played his last game of rugby league for Brothers at the season grand final.
The youngster needed a liver transplant.
He had a rare vanishing bile duct syndrome which meant only 12% of the ducts in his liver were working properly.
Now, 10 months after his successful transplant operation, Max is in remission and doing well. He has become a bit of a poster boy for organ donation on the rugby league scene.
In July, the National Rugby League announced a life-saving partnership with DonateLife, a government organisation working to improve organ donation across the country to save people just like Max.
When Max was still sick, Penrith Panthers player Josh Mansour called him personally and on Friday night the pair met.
Max's mother Caroline said Josh had really wanted to meet Max, who went down to say hello after he came off the field.
"Max is quite reserved and doesn't often get excited," Caroline said.
"But he came off the field with a massive smile on his face."
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg praised a brave and determined Max, and urged people to consider becoming an organ donor.
"Becoming a donor is simple, takes less than a minute to register online and in doing so, you could literally transform the lives of 10 or more people," Mr Greenberg said.
"The NRL is proud to partner with DonateLife to help promote their life-saving message and it was great to see Max front and centre before the Broncos and Panthers match.
"I wish Max and his family well and I hope he gets to attend a lot more rugby league games in the future.
"His courage is an inspiration to all of us."
Did you know you can now register your donation decision instantly online? Go to donatelife.gov.au.