The Penrith Panthers have made a surprising decision to release Corey Harawira-Naerea from his playing contract in 2019 to sign with the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Recruited from NZ, Harawira-Naera was a part of the Panthers 2014 NYC premiership side.
With 44 NRL games at the Panthers to his name, the club admits the decision to let him go was difficult.
“The decision to allow Corey a release from his contract was a difficult one,” Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould AM said.
“Firstly, it’s a matter of future salary cap management for our club.
“Secondly, it is such a wonderful opportunity for Corey with his new club.”
There was nothing but praise for the Kiwi native, however, despite the confirmation of his release.
“Corey came to us from New Zealand as a teenager and developed through our junior pathways and house-parent program,” Gould continued.
“He is now a quality NRL regular with obvious representative potential.”
With room to improve in 2019, the signing of Harawira-Naera gives the Bulldogs an imposing back-row for the next four years.
“Signing someone of Corey’s calibre and potential is a great coup for the Bulldogs and comes on the back of a strong finish to our 2018 season,” Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill said.
“Dean Pay and his coaching staff have helped develop some talented young players this year.
“The addition of Corey to the squad will add both quality and strength to our forward pack for next season and beyond.”