Tonga star Addin Fonua-Blake will remain with the Warriors for at least one more season. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Want-away prop Fonua-Blake to stay at Warriors for now

Scott Bailey November 3, 2023

Addin Fonua-Blake will see out next season at the Warriors after the NRL club convinced the want-away prop to stay in Auckland for at least one more year.

Fonua-Blake shocked the Warriors this week when he requested an immediate exit from the final three years of his contract, pushing for a return to Sydney for family reasons.

The 27-year-old’s departure would have come as a significant blow for the Warriors, given he was behind much of their go-forward on the march to this year’s finals.

Warriors bosses met with Fonua-Blake via videoconference on Thursday evening, with the front-rower currently in England on Tongan representative duties.

The parties agreed Fonua-Blake will stay on at the Warriors next season, while assessing his circumstances for 2025 and beyond.

“My only motivation for this move is for family reasons,” Fonua-Blake said in a statement.

“But I really want all Warriors fans to know that I am fully committed to getting into the 2024 season.

“I can’t wait to get back to training with my teammates with the aim to go even further in the upcoming season.”

Fonua-Blake had already loomed as an option for St George Illawarra, who have both the salary cap space and roster room to play with.

Coach Shane Flanagan had immediately declared his interest in the prop once news broke of his desire to leave the Warriors on Thursday.

“We’ll be monitoring what happens there, that’s for sure,” the Dragons coach told AAP.

“We want good players and he fits into that category.”

It was not the first time Fonua-Blake has requested a release from a club.

After a chequered past he rose to stardom at Manly, before shocking the Sea Eagles at the end of the 2020 season when he told them he and his young family wanted to move out of Sydney.

Since moving to the Warriors he has become one of the best front-rowers in the competition, sitting second only to Payne Haas for average run metres this year with 171.

His energy was crucial in the Warriors’ best finals run in 12 years, with the likes of Shaun Johnson able to play off the back of his surges through the middle of the field.