Tonga captain Addin Fonua-Blake has put a request in for an immediate release from the New Zealand Warriors, with reports Down Under suggesting that a move to St George Illawarra Dragons could be on the cards.
New South Wales-born forward Fonua-Blake joined the Warriors ahead of the 2021 campaign from Manly Sea Eagles, and in the three seasons since he has made 57 appearances. He is believed to want to move back over to Australia ahead of 2024 to be closer to his parents, who live in Sydney.
A statement released by the Auckland-based Warriors via their club website earlier today reads: “The One New Zealand Warriors have confirmed reports prop Addin Fonua-Blake has requested an immediate release from his contract on compassionate grounds.
“Chief executive Cameron George said the club is considering the request. He said there would be no further comment about the matter.”
Addin Fonua-Blake pushes for cross-NRL move following New Zealand Warriors exit request
On the back of that request, Australian outlet The Sydney Morning Herald have reported that St George will go in pursuit of Fonua-Blake, providing the Warriors accept his request for an immediate release.
The 27-year-old – who fuelled England’s fire this autumn with his comments after the first test match in St Helens – is believed to be on a contract with somewhere in the region of $1 million a year, a figure which the Dragons have room in their salary cap to stump up.
St George have a new head coach from 2024 in Sydney native Shane Flanagan, and on the possibility of Fonua-Blake being recruited, he said: “I’m more than interested. He has some history here with the club, he played under Dean Young as a junior.
“I’m always looking for quality players, and he’s a very good one.”
Fellow NRL outfit Canterbury Bulldogs are also reportedly in the market for a front-rower like Fonua-Blake, though are expected to stay out of the race for his signature having already filled a large chunk of their salary cap for 2024.