NRL: Addin Fonua-Blake vows to give everything to NZ Warriors' cause before 2025 exit

Departing prop Addin Fonua-Blake says he'll do everything he can to leave the Warriors in a better place than he found it with his days at the club numbered.

After requesting to leave the club at the end of last season, the 28-year-old has signed a four-year contract to join Cronulla Sharks from 2025.  

And despite wanting an immediate release, Fonua-Blake has decided to stay and play out one final season at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart. 

Addin Fonua-Blake scores.
Addin Fonua-Blake scores. Photo credit: Getty Images

Now, though, that leaves arguably the NRL's best prop with a clear goal in mind.  

As a key part of the side that came within one game of the NRL's Grand Final last year, Fonua-Blake and his teammates go again.  

And if there were any questions over Fonua-Blake's commitment to his current side, the gamebreaking front rower makes it clear exactly where his priorities lie.  

"You get the odd couple of comments, but I've got a thick skin," Fonua-Blake told Newshub. "I'm not really interested in what people say about me.  

"I'll just make sure I'm doing my role, make sure I'm doing my prep, make sure I'm nailing every rep at training and just being 100 percent all in on everything the team needs me to be.  

"There's a lot of young kids here coming up. [I'll be] offering my help and experience I have in the game.  

"I'll make sure I leave the club in good hands."  

In particular, Fonua-Blake only joined the Warriors in 2021 after wanting to leave Sydney for family reasons.  

And if form is anything to go by, moving to New Zealand has been the right one.

The Warriors celebrate with Addin Fonua-Blake.
The Warriors celebrate with Addin Fonua-Blake. Photo credit: Getty Images

In his three seasons, so far, he's become arguably the NRL's best front rower, alongside Brisbane Broncos prop Payne Haas.  

In 2023, he was named alongside Haas as one of the Dally M front rowers of the year, as recognition for his efforts.  

Fonua-Blake credits the role of the club itself for his improved performances, and wants to do his utmost to ensure his final season is one to remember.   

"This club has done a lot for me since I've come over. They'veput me in a better mind frame, helped make me a better person.  

"They've given opportunities to my family that I can only be grateful for now.   

"The only way I can pay them back now is [to] work hard, and try and lead this club to a premiership.  

"I've been here for the better part of four years now. You come to new teams and want to build new friendships and a brotherhood bond. I feel like I've done that.  

"It's going to be really hard to leave, but my time's up. I'm going to try and leave it on a high."  

In 2023, the Warriors transformation under coach Andrew Webster was one of the stories of the NRL season.  

Of their 27 games played, Webster's Warriors won 17 before they were felled by Brisbane Broncos.  

Last weekend, the Warriors got their first win of the year, albeit in a pre-season trial against Redcliffe Dolphins in front of a sold out Mt Smart.

That saw the club's best 13 - bar Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad - take the field, as an indicator of how the class of 2024 will play.  

And while fans may be optimistic, the players share that sentiment.  

"Off the back of last week's trial, you can see the excitement – and what's not to be excited about?" Fonua-Blake asked.  

"We came out here, put a convincing score on a pretty good Dolphins team.   

"I can't wait to get stuck in round one, and keep carrying on for the year."