Earlier this morning, Manly granted the 24 year-old a release from his contract on compassionate grounds. This release will come into effect at the conclusion of the 2020 season.
The Tongan international cited “a desire to relocate out of Sydney with his young family”. This revelation has almost certainly piqued the interest of all seven non-Sydney clubs.
NRL.com has reported that dialogue between the Warriors and Sea Eagles surround Fonua-Blake’s situation has already commenced.
The Sea Eagles released a statement on Wednesday morning stating that they “will look favourably upon a request to release Addin from the final two years of his contract on compassionate grounds as long as the Sea Eagles receive fair and reasonable compensation”.
It is uncertain as to whether Manly would prefer a player swap or a transfer fee for the forward.
What is known is that the Brookvale based club have urged Fonua-Blake and his management to come to answer quickly.
As one of, if not, the best props in the game, Fonua-Blake has been earning a ballpark figure of $600,000 a season with Manly.
Despite uncertainty surrounding the salary cap situations of other suitors, Fonua-Blake’s price tag should pose no problems for the Warriors.
The sole thorn in the side for the Warriors comes due to an uncertainty of where they will be based next year. With ambiguity surrounding the 2021 season, it has been suggested that they may be forced to play ‘home’ games on the Central Coast or Redcliffe.
With the Warriors expected to be able to complete their pre-season in Auckland, a familial link may help the club secure the prop’s services, as it has been reported that Fonua-Blake’s wife has family based in the New Zealand.
St George Illawarra could also enter the fray as a likely option, with the potential for Fonua-Blake to be swayed by familiarity.
The forward has previously lived in Wollongong and played under Anthony Griffin during his time as a Tongan assistant coach.
The Red V have a reported $1 million available in their salary cap, as evidenced by the dual pursuits of Christian Welch and James Tamou. So accommodating the in-form forward shouldn’t break the bank.
The only other possible locations for the in-demand international include Melbourne, Canberra, Newcastle, North Queensland, Gold Coast and Brisbane.
However, NRL.com have reported that the Broncos have already ruled themselves out of the race.
With several expensive forwards already on their books, it isn’t hard to see why.
Broncos board member and legend Darren Lockyer explained that the Red Hill based club weren’t seeking to add any names until the announcement of a new coach.