The star prop, who was named in the 2023 Dally M team of the year for his efforts during a phenomenal campaign, dropped a bombshell on the Warriors and the NRL yesterday by requesting a release from the remainder of his contract, which is due to expire at the end of 2026.
It was immediately revealed that the release request was on compassionate grounds - Fonua-Blake wants to move back to Sydney, with reports suggesting it's to be closer to his parents who are battling health problems.
It was believed the St George Illawarra Dragons were among the clubs who would make a play for the prop, but that, at least immediately, is now off the table.
The Warriors held meetings with Fonua-Blake (who is in England with the Tongan national squad) and his management overnight, and have now confirmed the prop will stay at the club in 2024.
The Auckland-based outfit refused to guarantee that would be the case in 2025 and, by extension, 2026 though.
Fonua-Blake, on his part, said he is "fully committed" to the Warriors for next season.
“My only motivation for this move is for family reasons,” Fonua-Blake said in a club statement confirming the news.
“But I really want all Warriors fans to know that I am fully committed to getting into the 2024 season.
“I can't wait to get back to training with my teammates with the aim to go even further in the upcoming season.”
It's believed the Warriors may want a player swap to facilitate any request for a release, however, that will now be kicked down the road towards the end of the 2024 season when a reassessment of the situation for both the prop and the club can be completed.