Rising Reds star realises potential on the field and in the classroom

With a strong mathematics skillset, developing business acumen and rising status as a rugby union No.10 (flyhalf), QUT student Harry McLaughlin-Phillips is making his opportunities count

In his third year of dual law and business degrees – and his first year playing at elite level with the Queensland Reds – the 20-year-old appears to be juggling the books and rugby ball with a laidback confidence.

“Studying (at QUT) is rewarding – and also helpful for footy, with stuff like contracts and understanding the legalities,” says Harry.

“There are always people here to help you, and to give you the best opportunity to do the best you can.”

Part of these opportunities have been realised through the Elite Athlete program at QUT, which offers access to academic flexibility, support services, as well as scholarships and funding.

As his rugby commitments and standing rise, Harry has adapted study accordingly to now be largely online, acknowledging that “rugby doesn’t last forever, so I’m keen to give myself options and connections”.

Harry’s journey is a shining example of the impact of QUT’s three-year partnership with the Reds, which is creating education pathways for players plus work-integrated learning for students.

With big wraps on field, Harry’s long-term goals are on the national Wallabies.

But for now, entrenching himself at the Reds is the focus, having made his Super Rugby debut in the opening round of 2024 against the Waratahs and going on to play seven games so far, including two in the run-on side.

His debut Super season has been noticeable for his attacking flair, accurate kicking and appetite to take the game on.

“I knew if I put the work in, I’d get an opportunity,” he says.

“To finally play for the Reds was an amazing feeling, a culmination of all the hard work,”

“Playing back-to-back games and fronting up to bigger bodies – it’s been more intense and the level is a lot higher but I’m enjoying it, it’s certainly a bit more rewarding. “

Harry arrived on the Super Rugby stage via the Reds academy, having also played Premier Rugby with Souths (nine first-grade games in 20223) plus seven games as a Junior Wallaby.

Harry is now primed to play a key role as a new batch of Reds, under a fresh coach in Les Kiss, bid to create their own piece of history.

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