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Another accolade for the One New Zealand Warriors has been confirmed with powerhouse prop Addin Fonua-Blake named the 2023 VB Hard Earned Hero.

The Mate Ma’a Tonga international finished with 1745 points from 23 games, 12 points ahead of Brisbane’s Payne Haas.

Tonight the two big men go head-to-head in the second NRL preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium.

Fonua-Blake’s success comes in a week when he has also been listed as one of the five finalists for The Players’ Champion award and been included in the Dream Team (both voted on by the players).

Fonua-Blake and Haas took their games to new heights this season with Fonua-Blake featuring in the VB Team of the Week in 22 out of 27 rounds and Haas 19, making them the two most consistent performers.

Fonua Blake finished the regular season leading the competition in post-contact metres (1515) while Haas was close behind in second (1453).

Fonua-Blake has been a standout try scorer with eight in the regular season and a ninth in last week’s play-off against Newcastle. Not only the top-scoring front rower he was one of the most prolific try scorers among all forwards. In comparison, Haas scored just one try all season.

No other One New Zealand Warriors player made the Hard Earned Team of the Year although loose forward Tohu Harris featured regularly and fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad also earned recognition for his deeds.

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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