Addin Fonua-Blake pushes for Manly release

Manly forward Addin Fonua-Blake has been granted permission to talk to rival NRL clubs about an exit from Sydney, with the Warriors a possible new home.

ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE of the Sea Eagles is tackled during the NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Penrith Panthers at Lottoland in Sydney, Australia.
ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE of the Sea Eagles is tackled during the NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Penrith Panthers at Lottoland in Sydney, Australia. Picture: Matt Blyth/Getty Images

The Warriors have emerged as the early frontrunners to sign Manly powerhouse Addin Fonua-Blake after the prop was given permission to talk to rival NRL clubs.

Fonua-Blake has told Manly officials he and his young family want to move out of Sydney, despite having two years left to run on his contract.

The Sea Eagles confirmed on Wednesday they were open to releasing the 24-year-old, but only on their terms and only to a team from outside Sydney.

Regardless, Fonua-Blake is likely to be in demand.

While the Tonga international landed himself in hot water earlier this year for offensive comments to a referee, he is one of the game's best props.

He leads all NRL front-rowers for metres per run with more than 10, and his one-two combination with Martin Taupau is one of the best in the competition.

Fonua-Blake has previously played for the Kiwis through his mother's heritage, while his partner Ana has family in New Zealand.

Manly have said they will only release the forward if they receive compensation, likely from Fonua-Blake's next club.

"Addin is a senior and highly valued member of the Sea Eagles squad and would be a huge loss," a Manly statement read.

"(However) out of respect to him and his circumstances the club has today given its permission for the exploratory conversations to be conducted immediately

"The club 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.

"The club has advised Addin and his manager that this matter needs to be resolved promptly so that all parties can confidently plan for the future."

The Sea Eagles front-row depth will be tested without Fonua-Blake, having won just one of five games without him in the past two seasons.

They are also still without a hooker for next year, and would be keeping a close eye on dummy-half options with any salary cap space opened up by Fonua-Blake's departure.

Manase Fainu remains stood down until his trial in July over an alleged stabbing, while Danny Levi is off contract at season's end.

Manly confirmed on Wednesday that second-rower Morgan Boyle would join Canterbury on a three-year deal.

Meanwhile, interim Warriors coach Todd Payten on Wednesday ruled out North Queensland - who he will be head coach of from next year - as an option for Fonua-Blake due to salary cap constraints.

But Payten said any team that had room for the Sea Eagles prop - believed to be abour $600,000 a year - would be interested.

"I think he would go good in anyone's team, he's in the top echelon of front-rowers," Payten said.

"He is a really smart aggressive player, and would add to any team that could get their hands on him."