17 Apr 2024

Fonua-Blake backs young Warriors to replace him

8:39 am on 17 April 2024
Addin Fonua-Blake of the Warriors celebrates as he scores a try during the NRL Round 10 match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Saturday, May 6, 2023. (AAP Image/Darren England / www.photosport.nz)

Warriors prop Addin Fonua-Blake is happy to have the speculation surrounding his football future behind him. Photo: Photosport

Warriors prop Addin Fonua-Blake is enjoying seeing his name in the media for what he is doing on the park, and not speculation about his life off it.

Fonua-Blake was the subject of a drawn-out saga regarding his future in Auckland, having reportedly requested an early release from the Warriors to return to Sydney on a compassionate grounds.

However, he has cited this as a 'miscommunication', affirming he never intended for an early exit.

He will join the Sharks next year on a four-year deal but has committed to seeing out the 2024 season and his contract with the Warriors.

Regarded as one of the finest props in the game, Fonua-Blake is relieved the ordeal is behind him and he can focus on footy.

"It's always easier when your name isn't in the paper every second day because it's a slow news day. It's a little weight off my shoulders but I have still got a job to do here."

He said his mind is solely with the Warriors and their campaign.

"I'm not looking too far ahead. I'm worried about what I can do to get my body right every week for the Warriors. It's only early but I feel like I'm progressing really well."

Addin Fonua-Blake of the Warriors scores a try during the round eight Anzac Day NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park on Tuesday April 25, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. Copyright Photo: Morgan Hancock / www.photosport.nz

Fonua-Blake believes in the last 18 months the Warriors jersey and club has garnered the respect it deserves Photo: Photosport

The one-test Kiwi and Mate Ma'a Tonga prop is backing the young talent on the roster to fill the sizeable hole he will leave behind.

"There are a number of players who could do it. Jakey Laban, Zyon (Maiu'u), Demitric (Sifakula,), they all could do it. My job now is just to make sure that I give as much knowledge as possible to them. They got the call up for a reason, they don't have to be something they're not. I feel like the club's in a good spot for when I move on."

Following the dramatic draw with Manly on Saturday, the Warriors sit seventh on the NRL ladder ahead of their clash with the 13th placed St George this weekend.

Fonua-Blake said they will need to match fire with fire against the Dragons in Wollongong.

"They have a lot of big boys in their team that come off the back fence, and if you don't aim up against them then, they're just going to roll you. We are going to have to bring our shoulders this week and meet them as hard as they run."

Fonua-Blake believes in the last 18 months the Warriors jersey and club has garnered "the respect it deserves."

He said they are becoming accustomed to not being the underdogs who fly under the radar.

"It puts pressure on us to perform the way we should, to move to that next level in the NRL we need to go into games backing ourselves."

Addin Fonua-Blake.
NRL-R 16 New Zealand Warriors vs St George Illawarra Dragons at Central Coast Stadium  Picture: NRL Photos/Gregg Porteous

Fonua-Blake says the Warriors are becoming accustomed to not being underdogs. Photo: Photosport