Cameron Smith left stunned at James Fisher-Harris move as huge NRL contract detail comes to light

The NRL great was just as surprised as fans after the announcement.

NRL great Cameron Smith has revealed his shock at the announcement James Fisher-Harris will move to the Warriors in 2024 after joining the Panthers in 2015 as details of his exit have been revealed. Fisher-Harris is regarded by many as the best prop in the game and was expected to remain with the Panthers next year.

However, the NRL world was left stunned on Wednesday after the Warriors announced Fisher-Harris would come home to New Zealand and join the club on a four-year deal. The Panthers granted the 28-year-old a release from his contract on compassionate grounds.

NRL great Cameron Smith (pictured right) was just as surprised as fans after th shoc announcement James Fisher-Harris (pictured left) would be leaving the Panthers for the Warriors in 2025. (Getty Images)
NRL great Cameron Smith (pictured right) was just as surprised as fans after th shoc announcement James Fisher-Harris (pictured left) would be leaving the Panthers for the Warriors in 2025. (Getty Images)

Fisher-Harris is a massive singing for the Warriors with Adin Fonua-Blake leaving the club next year. And Storm legend Smith was left flabbergasted when the move suddenly announced, much to the surprise of many in the NRL community. And Smith pointed out Fisher-Harris was leaving was a surprise since he had joined the club in 2015 and never appeared set to leave the reigning champions.

“It’s massive given he’s played his entire career in Penrith,” Smith told SEN Radio. “It’s no secret that he’s been a huge part of their three-peat, there’s no secret about that. He’s just come off a season where he won the Golden Boot and he’s been voted (Dally M) Prop of the Year in (2020 and 2021).

“I think it goes without saying that he’s regarded by a lot of people in rugby league circles as the best propr in the game currently, this is massive, massive news. We always talk about how big the pool of young players coming through at Penrith but jeez it’s hard to replace someone like James Fisher-Harris, it’s just incredible, massive signing for the Warriors though.”

Smith was still left gobsmacked and was surprised at how the deal had been kept quiet. “My goodness, did anyone see this coming?” Smith said.

James Fisher-Harris celebrates.
James Fisher-Harris (pictured) will join the Warriors in 2025.

Penrith honour James Fisher-Harris after time at club

Speaking on NRL 360 on Wednesday night, Michael Carayannis revealed Penrith were respectful of Fisher-Harris' ask to leave on compassionate grounds after so many years at the club. And Fisher-Harris and Warriors coach Andrew Webster were able to form the deal in a very short amount of time after he was granted permission to leave. Fisher-Harris was able to get on a plane and sign the deal on Wednesday.


“We’ve seen this situation play out so many times where there’s a fallout between the club and the player, but that didn’t happen in this situation,” Carayannis said on the show.

“It’s a clean cut break, they haven’t asked for a transfer fee, they didn’t engage for a player swap, they didn’t ask for anything. They just said James Fisher-Harris, thanks for your service and good luck... I think this has been sitting with James for the last couple of weeks."

Penrith released a statement on Wednesday praising Fisher-Harris' influence during his time at the club. "Fisher-Harris approached the club this week with a request to return home to New Zealand following the 2024 season on compassionate grounds," the statement read. "Out of respect to the three-time premiership player, Panthers saw it only fitting to grant this request."