Fonua-Blake signing can turn Warriors

Manly's Addin Fonua-Blake has signed a deal with NRL rivals the New Zealand-based Warriors.
Manly's Addin Fonua-Blake has signed a deal with NRL rivals the New Zealand-based Warriors.

The Warriors have hailed Addin Fonua-Blake's signature as potentially one of the "most important" in the club's history after luring the Manly prop across the Tasman.

Fonua-Blake has officially played his last game for the Sea Eagles, set to miss Sunday's clash with the Warriors before linking with them on a three-year deal.

Currently battling a knee injury, he confirmed his deal on social media on Tuesday after convincing Manly to grant him a release for personal reasons.

He is easily the highest-profile of the Warriors' signings for next season under new coach Nathan Brown, with the club having also added Kane Evans and Ben Murdoch-Masila to their pack.

"Addin's signing could be one of the most important in the club's history," Warriors recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan said.

"He is exactly what we have been looking for to bring into our squad."

Veteran recruiter O'Sullivan also pointed to the growth of Eliesa Katoa, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and Jack Murchie as part of a new-look pack middle for next year.

But Fonua-Blake shapes as the most vital addition, given he averages more metres per run than any other prop in the NRL this year with just over 10.

"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 said.

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

It came after Fonua-Blake told Manly he wanted to move out of Sydney with still two years remaining on his contract and was given permission to negotiate with select clubs.

"Hardest decision I've had to make of my career but after 6 years with this family my time has come to an end," the Tongan international posted on Instagram.

"I'd like to thank everyone from the coaching staff and all the players to all the loyal fans that stuck with us/me through every hard time we had over the past 6 years.

"Excited/Nervous about what waits for me next at the Warriors.

"Nothing but love for the Bird Gang Brothers."

The Sea Eagles have stated they want some kind of compensation for the release, but it remains unclear if that will be in the form of a financial component.

As of Tuesday, no player swap had been negotiated.

Regardless, Fonua-Blake's hefty salary of beyond $800,000 could open the door for Manly to welcome Kieran Foran back to the club.

Australian Associated Press