SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16: Canterbury Bulldogs NRL General Manager of Football Phil Gould speaks to the media at Belmore Sports Ground on May 16, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. Gould spoke to the media as he left the ground after the announcement this morning that Trent Barrett had quit the role of Bulldogs head coach. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The number of clubs chasing Addin Fonua-Blake in Sydney is likely to swell over the coming months, and already the race is heating up, with Canterbury Bulldogs director of football Phil Gould indicating his club will make a play.

The Bulldogs have indicated in recent times that replenishing their forward pack is of paramount importance.

Having already signed Josh Curran, the club were also heavily linked to Siosiua Taukeiaho before he failed a medical on arrival in Sydney as he pushed for a release from the Catalans Dragons.

Other forwards are likely on the radar at Belmore, and it could be one of the game's biggest names in the headlights next.

Addin Fonua-Blake, who has requested a release on compassionate grounds from the New Zealand Warriors but will play out the 2024 season for the club, is likely to entertain offers from clubs in Sydney over the coming months.

It's believed the St George Illawarra Dragons under incoming coach Shane Flanagan will be the favourites to land the Dally M prop of the year's signature should the Warriors confirm his release, but Gould indicated on SEN Radio that the Bulldogs will make a play, although he foresees a "lot of people lining up" for the signature.

“Yeah, Addin is a quality player," Gould told SEN radio.

“I spent a little bit of time with Addin at the Warriors and got to see him first-hand, he's a quality player.

“He's not cheap though. I'd imagine there'd be a lot of interest in Addin.

“He's got to return home to Australia for family reasons, which he's working through with the Warriors.

“He's going to spend another year in New Zealand, I believe he's making himself available for Australia in 2025.

“There'll be a lot of people lining up for his signature that's for sure."

Gould was quick to acknowledge Canterbury's forward pack is lacking, but said they have money to spend in a market that doesn't have a number of great options available.

It has been widely noted that the 2025 state of play for free agency is lacking in prop talent, and that is only shrinking following Canberra's re-signing of Ata Mariota.

The likes of Jack Saifiti remain available, but it's a skinny market.

“The problem is that there's nothing really on the market to buy," Gould said.

“We don't want to rush out and just spend the money.

“We've probably got a little bit more than people see. We've got some young blokes there that didn't play a lot of football this year, and they (fans) would feel a bit better if we'd seen them play.

“We're certainly looking (across the market), we've got money available."