Proud Harper, 12, to don Maroons jumper at National Touch Football Championships
By CHRIS KARAS
TO capture a State title in your chosen sport is a fine feat – but to claim back-to-back trophies is a tremendous accomplishment to be proud of indeed.
Celebrating that big achievement is Mercy College Mackay student Harper Shields (pictured) who recently earned his spurs with the Queensland Under 12 representative touch football team.
The versatile Year 7 athlete will realise a childhood dream when he represents his beloved Maroons at the National Schoolboys Touch Football Championships to be staged in the NSW town of Wagga Wagga during November.
Whiz kid Harper - the 2021 Mackay Sports Person of the Year - gained selection after classy displays at the
recent Queensland Schoolboys Touch Football Carnival held in Brisbane where he captained Capricornia to a deserved championship title.
The elusive middle player demonstrated his leadership skills, attacking prowess and vision on the field to help the well drilled Capricornia side post ten wins from 11 matches in the preliminary rounds before toppling Metropolitan East 7-5 in the Grand Final at the Whites Hill venue.
Capricornia trounced Metropolitan North (10-0); Metropolitan West (4-1); North West (13-0); Northern (8-3); Metropolitan East (5-2); Peninsula (8-0); South Coast (4-2); South West (11-0); Sunshine Coast (9-1) and Wide Bay (5-1) to earn the number one ranking with 28 points.
Darling Downs edged out Capricornia 5-4 in a pool match to inflict the only defeat for the 2022 Boys championship winners.
Talented Harper impressed keen judges with his ability to perform in pressure situations and was one of five Capricornia touch footballers to gain selection in the Maroons’ Under 12 State representative squad.
It capped another memorable milestone for the Mackay schoolboy sensation who was also a key figure in Capricornia’s triumphant
2021 State Championship-winning team as a rookie 11 year old.
The middle maestro gained plenty of confidence as he upstaged more senior opponents with mature performances during last season’s trophy success – an experience that kept him in good stead when he was handed the captaincy reins for the 2022 campaign.
Donning the famous Maroons colours will be a proud moment for young Harper, who’ll be joined by the promising Rockhampton quartet of Charlie Spyve (middle); Sam Spyve (link); Kobe Miller (middle) and Archie Cugola (winger) when the Queensland team travels to Wagga Wagga for the National titles later this year.
A genuine will ‘o the wisp on the field with tricky footwork, the slick and crafty Shields has certainly come a long way since taking up the sport as a fresh faced eight year old while attending St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Mackay.
Harper proved to be a natural in the local schools competition and joined the Magpies’ sporting group at age 9 before linking with Mirani Touch Football Club where he has tasted Grand Final success in the Mackay Touch Football Association junior divisions.
The dashing colt was fast-tracked into the representative arena and forced his way into the Capricornia Under 12s squad with smart performances for Southern Suburbs in the selection trials.
A naturally gifted athlete, Harper is also an outstanding all round cricketer with the Mackay Brothers club and Mackay-Whitsundays representative team and an exciting fullback prospect with the Wanderers club in the Mackay Junior Rugby League competition.
Since joining the Wanderers as a skinny six year old, the capable Shields has ignited his age group with dynamic running and try-scoring feats to earn yet another representative jumper.
Harper was at his elusive best for the Capricornia Under 12s rugby league team that performed with distinction at the recent Queensland Junior State titles on the Sunshine Coast.
In recognition of his super deeds on the touch football, rugby league and cricket fields, young Harper was the recipient of the Stuart Jackson Trophy for Mackay’s Sports Person of the Year.
Pic captions: A proud Harper Shields (kneeling with trophy) with the triumphant Capricornia team that clinched a second consecutive Queensland U/12 Boys Touch Football championship title in Brisbane.
Mercy College Mackay touch football whiz Harper Shields with the Queensland U/12 Boys Touch Football Championship trophy. Harper spearheaded Capricornia to back-to-back State titles and was one of five players selected in the Queensland U/12s rep team for the 2022 National Titles in Wagga during November.