Addin Fonua-Blake wants to become a better man, and he joined the Warriors to try and accomplish that.
As one of the leading props in the NRL, Addin Fonua-Blake was a hot commodity in the player market late last year after he asked for a release from the Manly Sea Eagles with two years remaining on his contract.
The 25-year-old Tongan international had his suitors, and surprised some with his decision to sign a three-year contract with the Auckland-based Warriors.
Despite confirming his signing with the Warriors late last year, Fonua-Blake, his wife, Ana, and their four children Aubrey (6), Malachi (5), Addin (2), Alilia (1) have yet to settle in Auckland, instead linking up with the club first at their off-season base in Kiama, New South Wales.
The group based there have since linked up with the Auckland-based group in Tamworth to continue their pre-season preparations.
Fonua-Blake explained location played a major factor in his decision to join the Warriors.
"It was a personal thing," Fonua-Blake said. "I had to become a better man, father, husband and everything, and a player also, and I thought getting out of Sydney would be the best thing for me.
"Being a dad has helped me along the way, responsibility-wise. I'm responsible not just for myself but for four other humans, and also for my wife. I reckon if I didn't have these kids, life would be a bit different but I'm grateful for the position I'm in."
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Talented as he is, Fonua-Blake has made headlines for the wrong reasons during his rugby league career. In 2015, while he was captaining the St George Illawarra Dragons under-20s side, he pleaded guilty to assault charges after pushing and kicking his partner after a night of drinking. He was fined $1000, ordered to undergo counselling and given a one-year suspended sentence. He had his contract terminated by the Dragons.
After completing a comprehensive counselling and development programme, he was cleared for a return to the game by the NRL's integrity unit in 2016, and made his NRL debut with the Manly Sea Eagles that year.
More recently, Fonua-Blake's hot temper on the field got the better of him in a match last season and he received a suspension after a verbal tirade on a referee following a close loss.
On form, Fonua-Blake is one of the most damaging props in the NRL. In 2020, he was ranked third in post-contact metres per game, averaging about 75m a game. And while his emotion can sometimes get the better of him on the field, in signing with the Warriors, Fonua-Blake has the opportunity to turn over a new leaf.
"So far, I'm feeling good. I feel like I'm in a better space but it's only early days so I don't want to say too much. I'm just taking it one day at a time and so far, so good."