Powerhouse Mate Ma’a Tonga and Manly front rower Addin Fonua-Blake has today been confirmed as the Vodafone Warriors’ fifth major signing for their 2021 NRL campaign after being secured on a three-year contract to the end of the 2023 season.
The imposing 189cm, 118kg prop’s acquisition follows the signing of his Tonga teammate Ben Murdoch-Masila from Warrington, Parramatta Eels prop Kane Evans and St George Illawarra centre Euan Aitken plus ex-Canberra back rower Jack Murchie, who was signed on an extended deal after initially joining the Vodafone Warriors only until the end of this year.
“Addin’s signing could be one of the most important the club’s history,” said Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.
“He is exactly what we have been looking for to bring into our squad.
“The transformation of our pack is almost complete having Addin along with Kane Evans and Ben Murdoch-Masila plus the rise of young players like Eliesa (Katoa), Jamayne (Taunoa-Brown) and Jack (Murchie) and injured players returning to complement the skill and work rate of Tohu (Harris) and Jazz (Tevaga).
“Addin has a big motor, power, the skill set and the body shape we were looking for to take our pack to a new level.
“He’s very close to a lot of players in our squad having cemented relationships with them over a number of years at Test level and with the Junior Kiwis. At 24 years of age he has the best years in front of him as a premier front rower in the NRL.”
Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George is elated with the signing.
“It’s a huge coup for us and we’re thrilled to welcome Addin and his family to our club,” he said.
“Having him on board is the missing part of the puzzle as we have worked to establish a squad to compete with the best clubs in the competition.”
Fonua-Blake, who was granted a release from his contract with Manly after playing his 97th and last match for the club on September 11, won’t line up for the Sea Eagles in their season-ending encounter with the Vodafone Warriors this Sunday.
After being used predominantly as an interchange prop in his first two seasons he has been a first-choice starting front rower for Manly since 2018.
In 15 appearances this season he has averaged 167 metres and 26 tackles a game while across his career he averages 125 metres and 21 tackles a match.
He made his international debut with the Kiwis in 2017 but then switched to Tonga in 2018.
Date of Birth: November 6, 1995
Birthplace: Meadowbank, Sydney
Junior Club: Mascot Jets, Sydney
Rep Honours: 1 Test for Kiwis (2017), 6 Tests for Tonga (2018-2019)
NRL Debut: Manly Warringah v Parramatta, Brookvale Oval, April 14, 2016 (Round 7)
NRL Career: 97 appearances for Manly (2016-2020):
NRL Points: 52 (13 tries)