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“Out of the blue”: Warriors CEO on the phone call that brought Fisher-Harris home


When the One New Zealand Warriors released star prop Addin Fonua-Blake for the 2025 season, they never imagined being able to replace him with a similar calibre player. Then Warriors CEO Cameron George got a phone call.

The Warriors, on Wednesday, announced the signing of New Zealand test captain James Fisher-Harris on a four-year deal after he was released by the Penrith Panthers on compassionate grounds.

Fisher-Harris is a three-time premiership winner and Golden Boot recipient who is largely rated as one of the elite props in the NRL, and his signing comes as a shock, but highly important, one.

“The announcement stopped the country,” George told Sportsday NSW.

“I think the signature of James Fisher-Harris to the Warriors has changed the landscape of New Zealand rugby league. He’s our leader, he’s the captain of the national team, he’s an inspiration to many… there’ll be kids here playing footy purely because of his signing.

“Everyone was shocked and once they picked their jaws up off the floor, we’ve just had so much response to it, all very positive.”

The NRL has been taken by surprise at the speed of the signing, with George revealing discussions began very recently after a phone call that came “out of the blue”.

“On Sunday night, I got a phone call and it all eventuated from there,” George said.

“It moved pretty quickly in the best interest of everyone… every party wanted the same outcome and that was to make sure James was okay and compassionate reasons were considered.

“Very happy and very respectful and appreciative of the manner in which Panthers handled this… absolute professionals.”

New Zealand rugby league is thriving off the back of the recent success of the Warriors, with the club having sold out six from six home games this season, including pre-season, while another sell-out is expected today against the St George-Illawarra Dragons.

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