Sydney father’s secret tribute at the Queen’s funeral

Danny Abdallah made a poignant tribute to his beloved NRL club after the Sydney father was invited to the late Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Abdallah’s three children – Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, Sienna, eight – and niece Veronique Sakr, 11, were killed by a drunk driver, Samuel Davidson in Oatlands, Sydney in 2020.

After the tragedy Abdallah and his wife forgave Davidson, who was sentenced to 28 years in jail, and the couple later set up i4give Day and Foundation to remember their lost loved ones and help others in a similar situation.

Abdallah was one of 10 ‘ordinary Australians’ invited to represent the country at Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral in London on Monday.

And the trio of pins on his lapel caught the eye, including a map of Australia, the Australian flag and a bulldog – a nod to his beloved NRL side the Canterbury Bulldogs.

‘I just wanted to honour the club. The Bulldogs have been kind to me and my family and I wanted a piece of the club there with me to pay their respects,’ Abdallah told the Daily Telegraph.

‘They have always been by my side, checked in on me. They have a round called the I4Give Cup. Sport I think is a good place to progress for your grief.’

Abdallah has spoken of the support he received from Canterbury and the NRL following his tragedy, and once stated ‘the league cried with me’ during his ordeal.

‘I love the NRL and my kids love their footy as well,’ Abdallah said. ‘Growing up in western Sydney, it is the game that is played out here more than anything. It is honouring the whole NRL, that link to Aussie sport that we all have. It was nice to honour the club.’

Bulldogs chief Aaron Warburton sent Abdallah the pin when he learnt that the Canterbury fan would be heading to London for the state funeral, an event he reflects was an honour to be involved in.

‘Now that I am back, I am processing it all,’ Abdallah said. ‘It was a part of history and what I have learnt from this is no matter how significant someone is or how insignificant someone is, love and grief are in all of the same households.

‘I could see the sadness in the King, the princes (William and Harry), in their eyes, how they lost their mother, their grandmother, and it just goes to show the universal thing that we all have together as human beings and that essence of family.’

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    After stepping down as Australian skipper last November following a sexting scandal with one-time Cricket Tasmania employee Renee Ferguson, some feared the wicketkeeper would be lost to the sport for good.

    There were also concerns surrounding Paine’s mental health after the saga – which unfolded privately in 2017 – went public.

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    Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft served a nine-month ban.

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    Paine is said to be in ‘exceptional physical shape’ and may also turn out in the Big Bash this summer, with the Hobart Hurricanes the early favourites for his signature.

    His world came crashing down last year after details emerged of the explicit texts, including a picture of his genitals, with Ferguson.

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    Another text read ‘need to ease the tension…finish me off with those lips then.’

    In August, Ferguson fronted Hobart Magistrates Court over stealing allegations.

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