‘Not all about the money, bro’: Fisher-Harris happy to stay at Panthers

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James Fisher-Harris has welcomed the monster deals handed to fellow front-rowers Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Payne Haas, but insists he has no regrets about not testing the open market himself.

Haas last week inked a three-year extension with the Broncos worth around $1.2 million that will keep him at the club until the end of 2026, and confirmed on Friday he was never seriously tempted to leave Brisbane.

It came a week after the Titans locked in Fa’asuamaleaui on a ten-year, $1.2 million-a-year deal.

Panthers hitman Fisher-Harris earns around $970,000 a year, but expects to smash through the million-dollar mark as ratchet clauses kick in by the time his deal expires at the end of 2026. He is in the conversation every time when it comes to the game’s premier props, along with Haas, Fa’asuamaleaui and the Warriors’ Addin Fonua-Blake – the only other $1m front-rower in the NRL.

Fisher-Harris, 27, who goes head-to-head with 23-year-old Fa’asuamaleaui on Saturday afternoon, told this masthead there was no price you could put on happiness and the chance to win titles.

“I don’t really care about that stuff, brother, I’m happy here with my bros,” Fisher-Harris said when asked about the money being splashed on members of the front-rowers’ fraternity.

Penrith hitman James Fisher-Harris is glad a few fellow front-rowers have entered the million-dollar club.Credit: Janie Barrett/SMH

“We have a squad here. It’s not all about the money, bro. My family and I are grateful for what we’ve got. I’m happy for the bro [Fa’asuamaleaui] for getting that deal. Everyone who plays internationally or Origin footy should be on $1m one day, eventually. Hopefully.

“I’ve been at Penrith for ten years now. I came here straight from New Zealand. This place is my second home.”

Fisher-Harris is shorter and lighter than Haas and Fa’asuamaleaui, but is just as mobile and fit and has an excellent passing game.

Few in the game frighten opposition players more than Fisher-Harris. The running joke out west is when players started getting Panthers tattoos after the 2021 and then 2022 premiership triumphs, Fisher-Harris’ panther across his chest that somehow looked the scariest.

Payne Haas will remain at the Broncos until at least the end of 2026.Credit: Getty

He has an immense respect for Fa’asuamaleaui. “He’s been killing it,” Fisher-Harris said. “He’s come into his own since he left the Storm and joined the Titans. He won the World Cup with Australia last year, and he’s a captain there for a reason. He just has a dig. That’s all you can ask for from a front-rower.”

Panthers back-rower Scott Sorensen, who along with representative winger Brian To’o will be rested from the Gold Coast game, said it was great front-rowers like Haas and Fa’asuamaleaui and Fisher-Harris were among some of the biggest earners in the game.

“I have full respect for those guys, they are incredible athletes and players with the way they lead their team, and they’d be on everyone’s tip sheet leading into games,” Sorensen said.

“Fish has the utmost respect for him as a player and person off the field as a dad. I might be older than him, but I look to him for leadership every time we play.”

Despite intense speculation over his future, Haas confirmed on Friday he never entertained leaving the club seen by plenty of rival fans and bookies as the most likely to meet Penrith in the grand final.

Broncos coach Kevin Walters even choked back the tears when talking about Haas on Friday and how he had continued to aim up on the field, despite dealing with his share of family drama. Haas’ mother remains behind bars on manslaughter charges, while just this week Haas’ brother, Zeda, was charged with drug trafficking.

“He’s a great person for people to look to if they are doing it tough in life sometimes; if you’re prepared to work hard like Payne has, things can happen for you,” Walters said.

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