DONE: the penriths Panthers have reach a final re-signed contract of leaving Key player….

Penrith are preparing to reignite their rivalry with the Wests Tigers as Stefano Utoikamanu emerges as their top candidate to replace James Fisher-Harris following his shock decision to quit Penrith to join the New Zealand Warriors on a four-year deal.


The Panthers confirmed that the 2023 Golden Boot Winner approached the club this week with a request to return home to New Zealand on compassionate grounds.


The three-time premiership winning prop has signed a four-year deal with the Warriors from the start of 2025.


“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to sign James,” said 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.”


“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,” added Warriors coach Andrew 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.

Since making his NRL debut in 2016, Fisher-Harris has played 183 NRL games for the Panthers, four matches for the Māori All Stars and 15 Test matches for New Zealand.


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


“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.


“While we would have loved him to stay at the Panthers, we wish him, his partner Natalie, and children Tahira and Deon all the best for their next chapter.”


Earlier on Wednesday, Raiders rookie Ethan Strange signed a new deal which will see the 19-year-old remain at the club until the end of the 2028 season.

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