NRL: NZ Warriors star Addin Fonua-Blake to stay at Mt Smart for 2024, after request for early release

NZ Warriors star Addin Fonua-Blake has reconsidered his request for an early release from his contract and will stay at Mt Smart for the 2024 season at least.

The NRL Prop of the Year was instrumental in the Warriors' breakout campaign that saw them reach the preliminary final this winter, leading the competition in post-contact metres, but asked the club for a release to return to Sydney to be with his ill parents.

Addin Fonua-Blake in action for the Warriors.
Addin Fonua-Blake in action for the Warriors. Photo credit: Photosport

An emergency conference call has averted the crisis, with Fonua-Blake - currently touring England with the Tonga national team - agreeing to honour his contract next season, while re-assessing his personal circumstances beyond.

"My only motivation for this move is for family reasons, but I really want all Warriors fans to know that I am fully committed to getting into the 2024 season," said Fonua-Blake. 

"I can't wait to get back to training with my teammates, with the aim to go even further in the upcoming season."

Regarded as irreplacable on the Warriors roster, Fonua-Blake has played 62 games since joining the club in 2021, while the team was based in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. His current contract runs through the 2026 season.

He previously logged 92 games for Manly Sea Eagles, before requesting an early release to leave Sydney.

As well as his Prop of the Year honours, Fonua-Blake, 27, was one of three Warriors players named in the Dally M Team of the year, alongside halfback Shaun Johnson and winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, while rookie Andrew Webster took Coach of the Year honours.