Star forward requests release on compassionate grounds

As England and Tonga head to Leeds Rhinos for the third and final test, one of the biggest stars of either team has thrown a spanner into the works requesting to leave his current club.

This is Tonga skipper Addin Fonua-Blake who has requested to leave the New Zealand Warriors on compassionate grounds. His contract, which was signed in 2021, is a long term deal and expires at the end of 2026.

Thus, the decision to release him would see this contract end which of course still has a lot of value in it for the Warriors at this stage with three more seasons yet to be completed on the deal.

The club made the following statement: “The One New Zealand Warriors have confirmed reports prop Addin Fonua-Blake has requested an immediate release from his contract on compassionate grounds.

“Chief executive Cameron George said the club is considering the request. He said there would be no further comment about the matter.”

Fonua-Blake upset former Wigan Warriors boss and current England coach Shaun Wane with his recent comments when he said that he felt like Tonga lost the first test rather than England won it.

He said: “Obviously, I feel like they came into the game with a game plan to slow us down. Our run is our threat. I was going to the ref and I was asking him, ‘mate, it feels like you’re calling us off a lot quicker than what you’re calling them off.’

“We had a good hit out today. We only went down by four points. At the end of the day I feel like we lost the game ourselves, I don’t feel like they beat us. We handed them the game. We clean up some areas that we need to tidy up and hopefully next week will be a different result.”

However, this couldn’t take the shine off being named captain as he explained: “I’ve achieved a few things in the game and I hold this up there with the highest honour that I’ve ever achieved in my playing career.

“To captain my nation and represent my family and the boys, I was just really grateful. Not many people say that they, I can say that they have.

“When I was out there today I tried to lead as best I could. Next week I’m just going to look to try and get better and better. Just try and put everything I can in and do the jersey proud.”