Shield aims for two sporting shields
By LEE GASKIN
THIS weekend will be one to remember for Nigel Shield.
The 23-year-old will strive for glory in the rugby league 4BU-Hitz FM A Grade Premiership and to keep his Division 1 men's hockey dream alive.
Shield is captain/coach of the Raiders Division 1 hockey team, which has progressed to its first preliminary final in many years.
They will take on favourites Rovers outfit tomorrow, but while most of his team-mates will be recovering or celebrating on Sunday, he will try to be part of league history when the unbeaten Easts take on Isis in the A grade decider.
Shield said the challenge of playing the two sports was not a problem.
"It's been pretty good. Both are on different days, so I've really enjoyed combining the two over the past few years,'' Shield said.
He was a member of last year's Bundaberg 47th Battalion Shield team, which was a remarkable feat considering he has only been playing league for the past three years.
"A few of my mates were playing with Easts and convinced me to have a go,'' he said.
But his history with hockey and the Raiders club stretches much further.
"I've been playing hockey since I was 10, and this year is the first that I'm coaching the senior side,'' he said.
It has been a long time between drinks for Raiders, and he is aware of the opportunity that awaits his team in the preliminary final.
"Last week was an unexpected win (over Cities), and we were on a big high after the game,'' Shield said.
"We know that Rovers will be very tough because they would've been hurt after last week. We respect them, but I'm sure that if we put in the same effort as last week then we're in with a shot''.
Shield also is "raring to go'' for Sunday's league final and "couldn't wait for the opportunity''.
"A grand final doesn't come around that often, so I just can't wait until Sunday,'' he said.