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AFB: I want to put it all on the line, leave on a good note

He was top of the props in a clutch of key statistics last season and Addin Fonua-Blake has no plans to drop his standards in his final season with the One New Zealand Warriors in 2024.

Originally signed until the end of the 2026 season, the 28-year-old Mate Ma’a Tonga captain has been granted a release from the last two years of his deal on compassionate grounds enabling him to be near his family in Sydney after his fourth campaign with the Warriors.

His 2024 preseason didn’t start until the New Year when the rest of the squad returned from the festive season break.

“I’m really focused on this year,” he said.

“Obviously it’s the last year I’m going to be here so I want to leave on a good note.”

Fonua-Blake was a standout in 2023, winning twin accolades as one of the Dally M props of the year and also being selected in the RLPA’s Dream Team

The recognition followed a season in which he topped all players – not just front rowers – for most post-contact metres (1670) while he headed all props for most runs (435) and most metres (4453) as well as most tries with eight.

He has set the bar high and is committed to maintaining the rage.

“Personally I want to end this season without any unfinished business,” he said.

“I don’t want a season where I look back and say I could have done this, or I could have pushed a little harder there.

“I want to put it all on the line and see where that takes me. Honestly I want to leave this club with a trophy in the cabinet; that’s obviously the goal.”

But Fonua-Blake is taking a wider view as well with his desire to help young forwards like Zyon Maiu’u and Jacob Laban.

“Another goal is to leave the younger boys in a better position than they were,” he said.

“Like Zyon and Jakey … if I can help them and play a little role in helping their careers now that will be satisfying in the future seeing them become great players for this club.”

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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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