The Warriors have convinced Addin Fonua-Blake to remain at the club for at least one more year. The Warriors confirmed on Thursday evening that the front-rower had requested a release from his contract on compassionate grounds.
The Warriors reportedly held an emergency meeting with Fonua-Blake on Thursday night in an attempt to convince the star front-rower to stay put. It is believed the Dally M prop of the year wants a move to a Sydney club to be closer to his parents, who aren't in good health.
NEW DETAILS: Adam Reynolds' staggering act amid dramas at Broncos
'NEED TO STOP': Nathan Cleary caught in ugly Mary Fowler furore
Warriors officials held a zoom meeting on Thursday night with Fonua-Blake - who is currently in England on a Test tour with the Tongan team. The meeting appeared to do the trick and the 27-year-old has agreed to delay a call on his future until 2025.
"My only motivation for this move is for family reasons," Fonua-Blake said in a statement. "But I really want all Warriors fans to know that I am fully committed to getting into the 2024 season. I can't wait to get back to training with my teammates with the aim to go even further in the upcoming season."
An official from a Sydney club told Wide World of Sports the Warriors would want a like-for-like player in return for Fonua-Blake. "It's no guarantee they will release him," the official reportedly said. "They want an equivalent trade. There are not many options available to them. They are Zooming with Fonua-Blake from England tonight (Thursday) and the general feeling is that he will stay in New Zealand for at least another 12 months."
According to reports, the Dragons are in the box-seat to snare Fonua-Blake if his release request is eventually granted. The hulking forward played his junior footy with St George Illawarra before being signed by Manly and making his first grade debut at the Sea Eagles.
New Dragons coach Shane Flanagan is desperate to add some starch to his forward pack and declared his club would be keeping a keen eye on developments surrounding Fonua-Blake's future. "We'll be monitoring what happens there, that's for sure," Flanagan told AAP.
"We want good players and he fits into that category. Without a doubt we'll look at it because he's got a history with our club."
Fonua-Blake had a career year in 2023 as he helped the Warriors to a third-place finish in the regular season. He and Payne Haas were named Dally M props of the year after outstanding seasons.
Dragons eyeing Addin Fonua-Blake and Joey Manu
Flanagan is on a recruitment drive after some dismal years for Dragons fans. The Red V have money to spend and several spots available in their top-30 squad this season, with Flanagan proclaiming earlier this week he was hopeful of luring Joey Manu away from the Sydney Roosters.
The Dragons are reportedly willing to offer Manu a $5 million deal to jump ship, with Flanagan pitching the prospect of playing fullback to the New Zealand international. Manu has always expressed a desire to play in the No.1 jersey, but has had to bide his time behind James Tedesco.
“From what I see when he plays fullback, his involvement is enormous. I think he could make a real fist of it,” Flanagan said. “I’d love to have him, but I just don’t know if he’s going to move. In the end, it’s not us, it’s not the Roosters, it’s just what Joey wants to do. I know he loves the Roosters, I know Nick (Roosters chairman Nick Politis) loves him. Does he want to leave and have a crack at fullback? He obviously won’t get to play too much there.”
Roosters coach Trent Robinson later said: “The first thing is, the conversation with his manager has been ongoing, we’re pretty comfortable with where they’re at. Joey is a Rooster, I don’t expect him to go anywhere.
“(Flanagan) is really trying to rebuild the Dragons and that’s really their prerogative. But I feel like they’ve thrown that out to get in touch with (Manu’s) manager. I don’t think those discussions have been had at all.”
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.