This weekend Harry Rivers plays his 100th open-age game for the Demons.         

 Season 2023 is Harry’s 11th season with the Pennant Hills Demons. He is 25 years old. Known by his teammates as ‘Riv’.

Harry’s footy career started at the Pennant Hills Junior club in 2006. Over 8 seasons (2006–11 & 2013-14), he played 127 games and was a member of the 2009 Under 12 Division 3 premiership side. He was a talented junior player and was the team’s Best & Fairest 3 times and also received the Umpire’s B&F award in 2011. In 2012, he played 8 games with Westbrook Juniors (8 games/4 goals). He was also a North West representative player in several seasons.

In 2013, at age 15, Harry joined the Penno Senior club and played four seasons (51 games in all) of underage footy (U18/19). 2017 was his first season of open-age footy. He started playing in the third grade side and was a member of the 2018 Division One premiership team. In 2020, he was promoted to the reserve grade side and has been a regular there for several seasons.

As to awards, Harry was the Most Consistent and Player’s Player for the Premier Division Reserves in 2022 and the Best Team Man in 2021. He was Most Consistent in Division One (third grade) in 2020 and 2018. He was amongst the best for Penno (BST 4) in the 2018 premiership.

Harry has been a back-man all of his senior career. He is a courageous, disciplined and reliable defender. Often called on to be in the last line of defence Harry is very effective as a defensive sweeper and can carry the ball and rebound the ball forward.

Aside from the 2018 premiership, one of Harry’s most memorable experiences was getting to play with his brother, Tom, in 2020. Harry reckons Maine Vidler and Jackson Preedy are two of the best that he has played with.

The Coach, Todd Williams, said this of the 2018 Grand Final:

 In the Grand Final we started with the predominant amount of possession. It was starting as a battle of the backs. Unfortunately, some early goals by Sydney Uni against the flow and over the back had them hit the leader board early. At one stage in the second quarter we trailed by 26 points. Some spurts of fast, expansive play by us threatened to turn the tide, we had to believe in our game plan, in each other and continue to work hard.

 The Penno crowd really got behind us as we went into the sheds at half time. The discussion was positive. We knew we could all lift and that our best was better than theirs. We needed to take this game on, be brave, use and trust each other and spread and run in attack, close up space and shut them down on turn over.

 If you get to watch the final on the AFL Sydney You-tube channel the commentators say it all:

 “Pennant Hills had a bit of a slow start but their finish was spectacular. They were so strong and physical and just relentless throughout the entire game. So, credit to them.”

Harry will be an important player in defence in the upcoming Reserves finals series.

We wish Harry all the best in his 100th game. Go Penno!

Written & compiled by John Acheson for PHAFC, Saturday, 29 July 2023