Starting in 2009, Harry is now into his 9th season with the Demons and at only 23 years of age, he has plenty of football ahead of him. He has played the majority of his footy in the first grade side, although injury, fitness and form meant that the previous two seasons, 2015 and 2016, were lean years for him. To his credit he finished last season strongly with several first grade appearances late in the year and has proven to be an automatic selection at the start of 2017. Like his older brother, Club Co-Captain Tom Angel, Harry is an aggressive and energetic footballer who never hesitates before a contest. He is a veritable whirlwind on the ground, has no regard for his personal safety and loves the bash and crash of top-grade footy.

Soccer was Harry’s first code as a youngster. However, in 2006 he joined the Pennant Hills Junior AFL Club, starting out in the Under 13s, whilst continuing to play soccer in tandem with Aussie Rules on weekends. He played 44 games of footy in three seasons, finishing with a flag in the Under 15s in 2008, winning one against arch-rivals Baulkham Hills.

Harry vs Manly

Playing with a blond mop on top, Harry was noted as one of the Under 15’s ‘most dominant players’ and was also selected for Starz and school boy representative football. For his junior coach, Bob Duncan, “… with some improvement in his kicking style Harry will be a tough footballer with a big heart and a will to succeed.” Club-mates at the Junior Club who graduated with Harry to the senior club included Jackson Potter, Tom Rivers, Joel McInerney, Lachlan Urwin, Michael Cantrall, Adam Nixon and Aaron Duncan.

Turning 16 in 2009, Harry joined the senior club that year and went on to play 55 games with the Under 18s over three seasons. He played his first open-age game in Reserve Grade in 2010 and received the Best Team Man award for the Under 18s the same year. He recalls his first grade debut in Round 16, 2011, still only 17 years old, was a win over UTS Bats at Blacktown No 2 (originally scheduled as a home game but transferred because of the closure of Mike Kenny Oval due to wet weather). Harry then had to wait until Round 7 in 2012 for his 2nd first grade showing. This time the opponents were Balmain Dockers and Penno won by 3 points at Mike Kenny Oval. He then played the remainder of season in first grade, with the team making the Preliminary Final, but this time losing to Balmain, who were runners up to the 2012 Premiers UNSW Eastern Suburbs. For Harry’s part, he was Most Improved for Prems that year.

Harry vs UTS Bats 2016

Harry then played a further two full seasons of Premier Division footy and was one of the unlucky ones to play in consecutive losing Grand Finals in 2013 and 2014, both times going down to Manly Warringah. He is yet to win a premiership with the senior club despite, to his mind, being part of “one of the best sides going around.” He struggled with fitness and form in 2015, only managing 7 games in lower grades and through hard work and better fitness was able to work his way back into the top side in the latter part of 2016. As a mark of his popularity and the respect with which he is held, he was joint Player’s Player for Reserve Grade in 2016, despite only playing 4 games for that side. Unfortunately, he was once again in a losing Grand Final last season as a member of the Division Three side, although he and his team-mates can at least claim a Minor Premiership to their credit!

A right footer, Harry has played mainly on-the-ball or on the wing and wears jumper 13. He’s played with some great players during his time and notes that Ranga Ediriwickrama, when in full flight is one of the most dynamic and elusive of players and describes Alex Goodall as an ‘unstoppable contested football beast’ when the going is tight and tough! For quality opponents, Harry regards Dane Rampe (formerly of UNSW-Eastern Suburbs, now with the Swans) and Connor Pettersson (Manly-Warringah) as two of the best he’s competed against.


Harry & Reggie 2016 cropped

As to personal highlights, Harry has good memories of his second first grade match, “winning a tight struggle against what was an absolute gun Balmain side at the time.” This was the Round 7 home game at Mike Kenny Oval in 2012. Penno lead for most of the match, but only by small margins, and held on for the win in the final quarter kicking 2 goals 2 to Balmain’s 3 goals 5, the final margin a mere 3 points.

He’s also proud of being part of the side that contested the two losing Grand Finals in 2013 and 2014 as just making it to the ‘Big Dance’ is in itself a great achievement. He also has great memories of the 2013 finals series when the side had to win three consecutive finals to qualify for the Grand Final. Along the way, Penno beat UNSW-ES Bulldogs by 71 points in the Elimination Final, just a few short weeks after losing to the same opponent by 98 points; Penno only managing 2.7-19 in the earlier clash (a record low score against UNSW-ES). Then, in the Semi Final, it was North Shore by a 6 point winning margin to Penno, with the last scoring shot of the day. Vivid memories of this match are shared by many who were there that day, as the game was won when “… Luke Bilbe took a screamer in the dying seconds, hand-balled off to Kieran Wright

[running past] who kicked the goal to win …” from about 50 metres out, and Harry also recalls that it was Kieran Wright’s 150th game. What a fantastic way to celebrate that milestone.
Penno then beat St George in the 2013 Preliminary Final by a reasonably comfortable 21 points. Coincidentally, this was the start of a hat-trick of Preliminary Final victories over St George, in seasons 2013, 2014 and 2015 … we have been their finals nemesis in recent years. History shows, of course, that Penno couldn’t make it four from four, losing the 2013 Grand Final in a close encounter against Manly-Warringah.

Harry describes the Premier Division flag won in 2015 as a ‘massive and historical day for the club’, as it was won against all the odds. East Coast were red hot favourites and had already beaten the Demons three times that season. Winning the unwinnable match was indeed remarkable and historic. Arguably, it is as momentous as the 2006 flag won by a mere 2 points in a quagmire at Henson Park. These two great finals vie for the title of the Club’s greatest victory. Harry says: “The 2015 premiership was a club highlight for me … to see those boys, especially my brother [Tom] who had been so unlucky in his footy career with injury and missing selection in grand finals. To see those boys who I’d lost those grand finals with … and to finally achieve some success on the last day of the year, was an amazing feeling and, although I didn’t play, one I won’t forget.

2015 GF celebrations cropped (Mobile) 50%

Of footy trips, Harry is guarded, but does let out that he’s “been on 3 footy trips and let’s just say Seb Parker and Jason Clarke have featured in all three with countless moments that I can’t share to the public … Haha! Of the 2012 Footy trip to Brisbane, he does recall running in to “Gordon Tallis and Alfie Langer at a pub. After comparing AFL and NRL, Gordon said to me ‘would the toughest AFL player do this to you?’ as he proceeded to choke me out before abruptly stopping and laughing in my face … Haha. Also, Tim Wales was blind drunk and referring to Alfie Langer as Alan Jones … which didn’t go down too well with the former QLD star player!
Off-field, Harry has a reputation as a larrikin and his clownish antics are familiar to anyone who has spent any time around the Club. On the field, he has heaps of football talent and has the potential to play a key role in the Club’s first grade side over the coming years. With dedication and hard work, achieving his potential seems assured.

In the meantime we salute another in the long line of distinguished players at this great Club and congratulate Harry on 100 games well played! We wish him, and all of his team-mates, the best for today’s match against the Bulldogs.

Go Penno!


Written & compiled by John Acheson for PHAFC, Saturday 29 April 2017