‘I don’t understand’: Kent questions ‘rubbish’ James Fisher-Harris Warriors coup in NRL contract law concern

James Fisher-Harris’ new deal with the Warriors has raised a major question — how exactly has the New Zealand club worked around the NRL’s contract regulations?

The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Kent held concerns regarding the way the Warriors approached Fisher-Harris before acquiring his services.

The Panthers premiership-winning prop dropped a bombshell on the NRL on Wednesday, signing a four-year deal with the Warriors from the 2025 season and beyond.

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Fisher-Harris was contracted to the Panthers for two more seasons through to the end of 2026.

Kent was of the belief the Warriors could have breached the NRL regulations which state clubs can’t negotiate with players until they are in final year of their current contract.

“Why hasn’t the Integrity Unit got involved in this?” Kent asked on NRL360 on Wednesday.

“He had two years to run on his deal with Penrith, he’s not allowed to negotiate under NRL rules and suddenly he goes to Penrith and says he wants to go.”

The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Carayannis revealed he believed Fisher-Harris approached Panthers bosses with his release request on Sunday.

But Kent still wasn’t buying it, explaining: “so he just out of the blue asked for a release and the Warriors were there two days later?”

“Come on… honestly, why have it in place? Why have it in place if we are going to sit there and cop all of this rubbish?

Fox League’s James Hooper questioned what Kent wanted from the NRL, and the veteran rugby league journalist insisted the Warriors should be fined.

“I just don’t understand, fine the club. Go out and fine them, and say you know what you’re actually not allowed to go out and negotiate with a player,” Kent said.

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“Convince him to leave his club with two years after this year on his contract, because you know what, there’s a rule in place that no one listens to.

“Everyone is doing 65 km/h in and 60 km/h zone, it’s all it is.”

Carayannis also revealed the Panthers could have secured the services of Addin Fonua-Blake after Warriors officials approached the club regarding a swap deal.

Penrith turned down the offer, leading Fonua-Blake to sign with the Sharks for the 2025 season. Now the Panthers have been without both props.

“When they were drawing up that shortlist for Addin Fonua-Blake, they asked Penrith would they swap him all those months ago,” Carayannis said.

“They laughed that off a little but back then, as you would have because they had no intention of letting Fisher-Harris go.

“But when they were drawing up their list, he was the type of players they were after, it’s very rare when you draw up a shortlist to actually end up with someone who is arguably better.

“Retrospectively you would regret it, if you could wind back time of course you would do it.”

Originally published as ‘I don’t understand’: Kent questions ‘rubbish’ Warriors coup in NRL contract law concern