Penrith Panthers backrower James Fisher-Harris says he can’t wait to play in front of his family and friends when he returns to New Zealand this weekend to battle the Warriors.
The 20-year-old Kiwi wrecking ball, who made his NRL debut in Round 1 this year, said much of his family will make the near three-hour trip to Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday afternoon to watch him play.
“I’ve been waiting for this day all year,” Fisher-Harris admitted to Extra Time.
“It’s always been a dream to go back home and play against the Warriors in front of my family.”
Since arriving at the foot of the Mountains a few years ago, Fisher-Harris said much of his family haven’t seen him play in the flesh as a member of the Panthers.
“There will be a lot of family at this game, I couldn’t tell you how many,” he said.
“I’ll try and get some tickets for them but I think they’ve bought some too.”
Fisher-Harris will be hoping his good run of form carries over across the ditch after he put in an outstanding performance against the Broncos last Friday night.
The Junior Kiwi played 68 minutes last week at Suncorp – scoring a try and racking up 27 tackles to boot.
Fisher-Harris said he’s enjoying the increased workload and increasing number of tries.
“I think I scored two tries all of last year and now I have four so far this season,” he said.
“It was tough playing that many minutes but we all worked together and we seem to stand up to the better teams.
“Personally, I’m still building on my fitness – that’s the main key for me.”
Penrith played their best game of football all season against Brisbane, which propelled them back into the top eight for the first time in weeks.
Fisher-Harris revealed Panthers coach Anthony Griffin gave his side an ultimatum in the lead-up to the game.
“He pretty much said that it’s up to us… it’s do or die,” he recalled.
“He said if you want to step up then step up and we did.
“It was good to get a game like that under our belts, play the whole 80 and not let them come back.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.