The New Zealand Warriors have wasted no time in signalling their interest in outgoing Sea Eagles prop Addin Fonua-Blake.
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.
Having already chased the expensive services of Jack De Belin and Tevita Pangai Junior, it is clear that the Auckland based franchise have deep pockets.
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.
Addin and Reuben back to the Dragons would be a smart move in the right direction for the club. Big losses for the Sea Eagles.
As a Warriors fan I would usually like this move. I really rate Addin and have thought he’s been one of the top props this year.
However I have doubts. Next season our middle forwards will be Lesson Ah Ma’u, Jazz Teveaga, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Jaymane Tanoa-Brown then we are looking deep into our depth.
I think between Big Ben, Big Addin, Big Jaymane we would be to slow in the middle which would get exploited on defence in particular. Think of a quick play the ball markers not straight and these guys tiring trying to close a gap behind the ruck while the likes of Harry Grant Munster and Pappy run at them, or Friend Keary Tedesco, or Mann Pearce Ponga.
We might make plenty of metres and have size but he would drain metres and tire easily. Most forward packs these days have middle forwards with 1 or 2 big boopers and 1 or 2 work horses. For example storm have Big Tino, NAS and Bromwich with Finucane and the two Smiths.
I think we would have two much big units not enough workers. Not to say Addin isnt a great player cause he is and not to say he couldn’t work here cause he could I just don’t think I’m the current set up it works well.
However the Dragons would be a good fit, Paul Vaughan is a worker, De Belin if he returns works hard and Addin would add that size, aggression, flair with his footwork and offloading and would be a solid addition.
Addin could also be a great fit in North Queensland if Josh McQuire leaves, where he could team up with McLean and country man Taumalolo
I don’t think Reuben Garrick would be a big loss
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