NZ Warriors coach Nathan Brown has labelled star recruit Addin Fonua-Blake as world-class after the prop put in a quality performance on debut for the club.
The former Manly forward ran for 202 metres on 18 hit-ups against the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday, scoring an astonishing 94 post-contact metres, while also adding five tackle breaks and four offloads.
Back in the coaching box for the first time since 2019, Brown sat on in awe of Fonua-Blake who added punch to an impressive Warriors pack.
"He's a world-class player," Brown notes.
"We were fortunate to get Addin. If you don't recruit well, you don't do well.
"To get a player of Addin's skill and talent for us was very, very important. He's only 25, so his best years are coming."
Another outstanding club debutant was centre Euan Aitken. The former St George Dragons centre didn't miss a tackle and ran for 132 metres, although he ended the game with an ankle injury.
Brown is hopeful the 25-year-old will recover in time for the trip to Newcastle on Friday night.
"I'm very happy with his performance, [but] I'm not sure how bad his ankle is or whether he'll be available next week," Brown added.
"He did for us today what we needed him to do. If he's unavailable next week, then we've got Adam Pompey, who had a great back-end of last year and trialled well, as a very capable replacement."
Aitken isn't the only early-season injury concern for Brown with hooker Wade Eagan and second-rower Bailey Sironen set to undergo concussion protocols next week.
But it was a gutsy display from the new-look Warriors ins sweltering heat against a side picked to contend for the title in 2021.
Brown says their simple gameplan limited mistakes, which in turn forced the Titans into costly errors.
"We certainly earned everything out there. The boys kept turning up for each other, that was key to our victory.
"They were very gritty. I'd like to think that over the course of the year, our combinations will improve down the track.
"We played a simple game today and our effort was what earned us the win; our commitment and effort in defence."
The Warriors play the Newcastle Knights on Friday night, who were also winners on the opening weekend.
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