A story about new Norths Devils centre Henry Penn has to mention Mark Graham.
Forty years ago, Graham came from the Otahuhu Leopards to Bishop Park. It was a critical decision for Graham, who won a premiership with the Devils in 1980 and went on to become the Kiwi player of the century.
Penn is also from the Otahuhu Leopards. He didn’t play his first game of footy until age 13 when a few mates encouraged him to play.
Less than a decade later, the Leopard will become a Devil in tonight’s Intrust Super Cup clash with the PNG Hunters at Bishop Park.
Penn, 22, has thrived with the Devils since he headed north after three years in the Newcastle Knights program.
“I was looking for somewhere else to go and I had heard about Norths,” Penn said.
“I came here with no guarantees but I wanted to play under (coach Rohan Smith) and it’s been a good pre-season.”
Penn has the same manager as Devils prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, who has been among the most consistent players since Smith took over as head coach last year.
Penn has found his way into the team after performing well for Valleys in the Brisbane Rugby League.
“I’m grateful for the chance and I’m looking forward to playing,” Penn said.
“We have some New Zealand players here and the whole club feels like a brotherhood. It’s good to play here.”