As the boredom of the indoors sets in, the fans aren’t the only ones twiddling their thumbs without any football on the weekend.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be checking in on the players to see what they’re up to, and who they’d hate to be stuck with through all this.
In today’s edition, we spoke to Harley Smith Shields, an exciting young outside back for Canberra who’s just graduated through the club’s Jersey Flegg system, and one eye on first-grade footy.
ZT: You got a chance to travel over to Perth for the Nines in February, what was it like being apart of it?
HSS: It was an awesome experience to go over to the Nines! Just to get picked in the team was unreal. I personally didn’t play the way I had hoped but it was a massive learning experience and I think I’ve grown from it a lot.
ZT: We’ve seen a few changes to Canberra’s backline this year, what would it mean to be apart of it and debut for the Green Machine?
HSS: Yeah there has been a couple of changes but at the moment our backline is pretty set and all the outside backs are performing really well! To say it would be a dream come true to make my debut for the Raiders would be an understatement. I’ve grown up here as a little kid playing in the local comp, my older brothers all played before me and all my family lives here in Canberra, so it would be unreal to debut here and build a career here in Canberra.
ZT: You’ve played a few different spots in the backline now, what’s your preferred spot?
HSS: Yeah I’ve played a few spots now. Really trying to learn my position on the wing at the moment and I think it’s developing really quickly. I played all my representative football as a centre so that would be my preferred position. In saying that, I’m happy to bide my time for the moment and train or play wherever the team might need me.
ZT: What was it like being apart of the club last year while they made that run towards the Grand Final?
HSS: Honestly the feeling last year when the boys were on the run home is something I’ll never forget. I remember being at the game when they just beat Melbourne in Melbourne because we played before them in the Jersey Flegg. I’d never been so excited before and experiencing the Grand Final atmosphere for the first time down on the side line with the boys was just unreal.
ZT: You picked up the Jersey Flegg Player of the Year award for the club last year, what can you see yourself improving this year to put you right in the frame for an NRL berth?
HSS: Yeah I had a good year last year, I was really enjoying my football wherever I was playing. We had a great bunch of boys and we were and still are very close, so it made those wins even better every time. Just working on my positional play as a winger and doing everything I can to be ready for the call up is important.
ZT: We’re all obviously stuck inside at the moment, what’re you doing to keep yourself busy?
HSS: Yeah it’s tough times for everyone at the moment, I’m lucky enough to have a fairly decent home set up in terms of weights and keeping fit so I’ll be using that as much as possible. I think I’d go insane without doing anything so I’m very thankful for that for sure.
ZT: Who’s the last team mate you’d want to be stuck in isolation with?
HSS: I don’t think I’d do well with many of the boys if were in lockdown 24/7 together, at least if I got stuck with Bailey (Simonsson) or Nic (Cotric) we could do some training downstairs.
ZT: With all the restaurants closed, what’s your go to feed at home? Can you cook, or is the Uber Eats getting a work out?
HSS: We still have some food shops open here in Canberra but I don’t think it’ll be too long until they all get closed! I don’t mind cooking but I usually stock up on enough gym meals direct for the week so I can just have those and keep my diet on track.
ZT: Speaking of work out, you obviously can’t at the club at the moment, how’re you keeping yourself fit?
HSS: Yeah training is big for me so I just take advantage of using the home gym as much as I can! It’s got everything I need and more, so it’s a massive help during this time. All the boys have already been trying to get a session in here or there!
ZT: Lastly, which bloke would be going mad being stuck at home?
HSS: I think Hudson (Young) would be going crazy stuck at home, that bloke is full of energy and has to be doing something all the time so I dare say he would be struggling a bit.
Thanks for the chat Harley! Stay tuned for the next instalment of Blythy’s Lockout Low Down, and drop a comment below to let me know who I should talk to next, and what you want to know!