CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 27: Addin Fonua-Blake of the Warriors is tackled during the round three NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Warriors at GIO Stadium on March 27, 2021, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

After requesting an immediate release from the New Zealand Warriors, the St George Illawarra Dragons have emerged as the favourites to sign Addin Fonua-Blake.

The 27-year-old was the highest-paid prop in the game last season and is currently on a contract worth more than $1 million a season with three seasons remaining on his current deal.

In what is a massive blow for the Warriors' premiership hopes in 2024, Fonua-Blake is set to be granted a release from his deal on compassionate grounds.

He would also be released by the Manly Sea Eagles at the end of 2020 on compassionate grounds to join the New Zealand club.

The New Zealand and Tongan international has played 12 international Tests and accumulated 159 first-grade games since his debut in 2016 - 97 for the Sea Eagles and 62 for the Warriors.

With the news causing a massive scramble with rival NRL clubs, Dragons coach Shane Flanagan has confirmed that the club is more than interested in recruiting him and that the club has the free salary cap space to sign him.

“I'm more than interested,” Flanagan told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“He has some history here with the club. He played under Dean Young as a junior. I'm always looking for quality players and he's a very good one.”

The New Zealand Warriors issued a statement on Thursday, confirming that the front rower has requested a release. Chief Executive Cameron George stated that the club is considering the request.


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