In perhaps one of the more surprising moves of the off-season, the New Zealand Warriors have secured the signing of three-time premiership winner, James Fisher-Harris. 

The move comes after the Penrith Panthers granted the early release of the Kiwi international with Fisher-Harris citing compassionate grounds as he links up with the Warriors from the 2025 season.

Although the club would prefer to keep Fisher-Harris at the helm, coach Ivan Cleary says that the hulking prop has been crucial for the club both on and off the field.

“Fish has been exceptional for the Panthers, both on and off the field,” said Panthers coach Ivan Cleary .

“The leadership and cultural impact he has displayed since coming into first grade has been outstanding. He’s evolved into one of the game’s elite players, and coaching him has been a pleasure.”

Joining the club at 18 and making his debut in 2016, Fisher-Harris currently has 183 NRL games to his name as well as appearances for New Zealand and the M?ori All-Stars.

“James has been a tremendous asset to the Panthers, and as a premiership player, has been a true reflection of a team that strives to be a source of community pride,” said Panthers Rugby League CEO Matt Cameron.

“Joining the club as an 18 year old, he has become a world-class player, captain of his nation, and a leader of men. His impact on our club culture has been truly exceptional.”

For the Warriors, who were looking to find a prop of equal stature to that of Addin Fonua-Blake who is bound for Cronulla next year, they are ecstatic to have signed Fisher-Harris.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to sign James,” said One New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George.

“It’s a huge signing for us, undoubtedly one of the biggest in our club’s history.

“To be able to add a player of his calibre and standing to our squad is a tremendous boost for 2025 and beyond. He’s such a highly-respected player and leader.”

Fisher-Harris will not only be returning to New Zealand but he will also work alongside Andrew Webster again who was Penrith assistant in 2021 and 2022.

“He’s one of the game’s elite players, a super tough forward who sets and demands the highest standards,” said Webster.

“It’s going to be fantastic having James with us. He’s one of the game’s elite players, a super tough forward who sets and demands the highest standards,” said Webster.

“I loved working with him at the Panthers and we really look forward to bringing him into our system from next season.

“He’ll add terrific value to our roster, to the club overall and he’ll also be invaluable as a mentor for our young players coming through.”

By ricky

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