The Penrith Panthers have announced a monster re-signing, with the game’s leading prop, James Fisher-Harris, signing a four-year contract extension with the club.
The new deal means the 25-year-old Kiwi international is committed to Panthers until at least the end of 2026.
“It hasn’t fully sunk in yet but I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to sign this deal,” Fisher-Harris said.
“This club feels like home. Panthers took me in and I’ve grown up here. I’m surrounded by familiar faces I’ve come through the grades with. My family loves it here. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.
“It’s every players dream to stay at one club for a long time. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to do it at a club like this.
“Now it’s my turn to do my job, put the team first and do everything I can to repay the faith the club has shown in me.”
Hailing from Kohukohu in the Northland Region of New Zealand, Fisher-Harris first moved to Panthers to join the club’s SG Ball squad in 2013.
He was a member of the premiership-winning Panthers NYC side in 2015 and earned his NRL debut in the first round of the 2016 season.
Fisher-Harris has gone on to establish himself as one of the game’s leading front-rowers and was last year honoured with selection in the Dally M Team of the Year.
He has played 125 NRL games for Panthers, six Tests for New Zealand and made two appearances for the Maori All Stars.
“This contract extension is a significant part of what we aim to achieve at Panthers,” Panthers General Manager Rugby League Matt Cameron said.
“When a young player comes into our system, our aim is much more than simply turning him into a first grade footballer. Every day we strive to help him grow into a man that his family, our club and our community can all be proud of. James epitomises every aspect of that goal.
“He’s a player that leads by example on and off the field, and his commitment to Panthers sets a strong foundation for the club’s sustained success.”
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary heralded the contract extension as exciting news for everyone involved with the club.
“James has been an outstanding player for Panthers in recent years and his best years are still very much ahead of him,” Cleary said.
“His relentless work ethic is second to none. It’s the driving force behind everything he’s achieved to this point and it will continue to serve him well moving forward.
“We’re thrilled he’s committed his future to the club and we look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in the years ahead.”
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 a decade.