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Addin Fonua-Blake remembers him as a flashy outside back with a head full of hair product, whose dazzling skills on the field were the talk of the area where they grew up. 

Two decades on Fonua-Blake says he is proud to be able to share a field with his old friend Dylan Walker, who is now a bald-headed middle forward, as he brings up 200 games as an NRL player, doing so on the same night 'AFB' marks game 150. 

The pair first met close to two decades ago while playing for the Mascot Jets and later spent time together in the junior system at the Rabbitohs. 

They played five seasons together at Manly between 2016-2020 and this season became teammates again when Walker signed on with the Warriors. 

"Just to be part of his milestone, I am pretty lucky," Fonua-Blake said.

"You don't really get [the chance] to play that many NRL games with people that you have grown up with, let alone a 200th and a 150th together.

Addin Fonua-Blake

"I am just really happy that I get to go out there and lace up the boots with Dyl.

"He was a bit of a local gun in the area where we grew up playing. He's done it all, won a GF, played for Australia, played Origin.

"Everyone loves playing alongside him and he's just that player that you know what you're going to get every time.

The winning moment: Walker

"I can't give them enough praise for the way he is helping this team grow; I love having him here."

The pair will bring up their milestones alongside Shaun Johnson – who is set to play his 200th game for the Warriors after being in doubt as he awaits the birth of his second child in Auckland – and hooker Wayde Egan who will play his 100th career game. 


Congrats lads 🤝

Posted by One NZ Warriors on Tuesday, July 4, 2023

They'll face an Eels side without Clint Gutherson, Mitchell Moses and Reagan Campbell-Gillard, who are all in Origin camp with the Blues.

But rather than looking at who they don't have, it's the presence of overlooked representative prop Junior Paulo in the Parramatta pack that is of most concern to Fonua-Blake. 

"I'm expecting big Junior to have a big game. Obviously he'd be upset with not getting picked [for NSW]," Fonua-Blake said. 

Junior is a world-class prop and we will have our hands full.... I thought he did enough to keep a spot there, I feel like he's been up the top end of props in the game for a long time now.

Addin Fonua-Blake

"But I know him, he won't let that get under his skin, he will come out this weekend and try and put in a real good performance for Parramatta."

Meanwhile Warriors coach Andrew Webster said his side's form away from home this year gives him confidence they can topple the Eels despite them having the added advantage of playing at an "intimidating" CommBank Stadium. 

Parramatta have won five in a row at the venue, while the Warriors are winless there in three prior visits. 

The Kiwi side have won five of eight road games this year though, compared to a 4-4 record as the home team. 

"I have rarely seen [the Eels] play a bad game at their stadium... we are expecting a really aggressive and hostile start," Webster said. 

"[But] we've done well on the road this year, so I don't see why we can't go there and spoil the party."

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