NRL: Canterbury Bulldogs ready to enter race to sign wantaway NZ Warriors prop Addin Fonua-Blake, hints Phil Gould

Canterbury Bulldogs appear to be ready to enter the race to sign wantaway NZ Warriors prop Addin Fonua-Blake in 2025.  

Earlier this month, Fonua-Blake, 28, shocked the Warriors by requesting an immediate release from his contract on compassionate grounds.

His current contract runs until the end of the 2026 NRL season, but the club has reportedly set terms that would see him released to join a Sydney-based club.

The Mate Ma'a Tonga enforcer wants to return to Sydney to be closer to his family, after moving to the Warriors from Manly Sea Eagles in 2021.

Addin Fonua-Blake.
Addin Fonua-Blake. Photo credit: Photosport

Fonua-Blake has agreed to play the 2024 season at Mt Smart, but what happens afterrwards is still uncertain.

By limiting his options to a Sydney-based club, the Warriors have left him with few suitors, thanks to his salary of more than $1 million per season. 

St George Dragons have made no secret of their interest and are prepared to offer a seven-figure salary to lure the NRL's best prop to Wollongong.

Meanwhile, the likes of Penrith Panthers, Sydney Roosters and Parramatta Eels are understood to be out of the race, due to the impact Fonua-Blake's arrival would have on their salary cap.

Speaking to SEN radio, Bulldogs football general manager Phil Gould has outlined his admiration for Fonua-Blake and wouldn't rule out his club making a move to bring him back to Sydney.

"Yeah, Addin is a quality player," Gould said. "I spent a little bit of time with the Warriors during COVID and got to see Addin firsthand - he's a quality player.  

"He's not cheap though, I'd imagine there'd be a lot of interest in Addin. He's got to return home to Australia for family reasons, which he's working through with the Warriors.  

"He's going to spend another year in New Zealand. I believe he's making himself available [to return to] Australia in 2025.

"There'll be a lot of people lining up for his signature, that's for sure.''  

One of the Warriors' reported conditions for an early release would see any suitor also having to provide a player in exchange.  

Fonua-Blake is coming off a career-best season and was named Dally M Prop of the Year, along with Brisbane Broncos powerhouse Payne Haas.