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'One-two punch': Betham excited by Warriors' Fonua-Blake signing

Warriors great Monty Betham has compared the recruitment of Addin Fonua-Blake and Ben Murdoch-Masila to the signings of Ruben Wiki and Steve Price more than a decade ago.

With Fonua-Blake joining the Warriors on a three-year deal that recruitment guru Peter O'Sullivan predicted could be one of the most significant in the club's history, Betham described next season's forward pack as "scary".

Murdoch-Masila had agreed to join the Warriors from Warrington after starring in Tonga's Test defeat of Australia last November, while Parramatta prop Kane Evans will also bolster a forward pack featuring the likes of Tohu Harris, Leeson Ah Mau, Eliesa Katoa, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Jazz Tevaga and Jack Murchie.

"It is exciting because for the last few years Addin has been the premier prop of the competition," Betham said of Fonua-Blake, who was voted the game’s best front-rower in this year’s player poll.

"He is turning 25 in November so we have got the best years of him and when you get guys like Addin and Ben Murdoch-Masila running after each other it gets a little bit scary.”

Betham, who played 101 matches for the Warriors, was at the club in 2005 when Wiki and Price were recruited and he believes Fonua-Blake and Masila could have a similar impact.

"You got that one-two punch with Ruben and Pricey together and it is the same with the one-two punch of Addin and Ben Murdoch-Masila," he said.

Addin's signing could be one of the most important the club’s history

Warriors recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan

"They are two of the most frightening players for Mate Ma'a Tonga and the fact that you have got them in tandem on the field with other very good props and middle players around them is exciting.

"With the names that the Warriors are putting together for next year, it is going to be a scary forward pack."

Fonua-Blake had been under contract to Manly for another two seasons but the Sea Eagles agreed to release him after he told the club he wanted to raise his children away from Sydney.

The decision frees up salary cap space to enable Manly to create a better-balanced roster next season and there has been speculation that Kiwi playmaker Kieran Foran could return to the club.

For the Warriors, Fonua-Blake is the forward enforcer the club has been missing since Wiki retired at the end of the 2008 season as the first New Zealander to play more than 300 premiership matches.

"Addin's signing could be one of the most important the club’s history," O'Sullivan said. "He is exactly what we have been looking for to bring into our squad.

Warriors signing Ben Murdoch-Masila.
Warriors signing Ben Murdoch-Masila. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"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, Jamayne and Jack, and injured players returning to complement the skill and work rate of Tohu and Jazz.

"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.

"At 24 years of age, he has the best years in front of him as a premier front-rower in the NRL."

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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