Tonga captain Addin Fonua-Blake has sealed his departure from the New Zealand Warriors and will link up with fellow NRL outfit Cronulla Sharks on a long-term deal from 2025.
The New South Wales-born powerhouse had been seeking an exit with immediate effect, believed to have wanted a return to Australia to be closer to his parents.
Fonua-Blake – who actually represented New Zealand internationally on one occasion – has been with the Warriors since 2021, making 62 appearances in the three seasons which have followed.
A Mascot Jets junior, the 28-year-old spent time with South Sydney Rabbitohs, Parramatta Eels and St George Illawarra throughout the age grades before eventually getting his break with the Manly Sea Eagles, debuting in the NRL against Parramatta in Round 7 of the 2016 season.
Having starred 96 further times for Manly until 2020, that takes his appearance tally overall amongst Australia’s elite up to 159.
Fonua-Blake will now remain in New Zealand for the upcoming 2024 campaign as the Warriors look to build on their play-off semi-final run this term, before linking up with the Sharks from 2025 on a four-year deal which will run until the end of the 2028 season.
Tonga powerhouse Addin Fonua-Blake seals cross-NRL switch, joining Cronulla Sharks on long-term deal from 2025: ‘World class’
The prop – who now has 11 caps for Tonga after this autumn’s test series against England – has been granted a year’s early release from his Warriors contract to pen this deal with Cronulla.
Sharks head coach Craig Ftizgibbon told their club website: “Addin is a world class front-rower and we are delighted to be adding him to our roster from 2025.
“Throughout the negotiation process, we have been impressed by his attitude, his genuine desire to help make the Sharks successful and to complement and work alongside both those in our leadership group and the young forwards we have coming through our system.
“On the back of a couple of outstanding seasons, everyone has seen what he is capable of, and we look forward to Addin playing a major role for us here at the Sharks.”