Born: 6 November, 1995 – Sydney, NSW
Test record: 1 Test (2018) – 0 points
Tours: 2017 World Cup
Bulldozing front-rower Addin Fonua-Blake played one Test for New Zealand early in his NRL career but subsequently pledged his allegiance to the Mate Ma’a Tonga cause.
Born in Sydney, Fonua-Blake was a Mascot Jets junior before coming through the lower grades at Sydney, Parramatta and St George Illawarra – captaining the Dragons’ under-20s side and earning an NYC Team of the Year nod in 2014.
Fonua-Blake also featured in the Junior Kiwis’ 2014 victory over the Junior Kangaroos, but his Saints contract was terminated for disciplinary reasons in 2015 and he linked with Manly at the end of the year after being granted approval by the NRL.
The 20-year-old made his first-grade debut with the Sea Eagles in 2016 and quickly became established as a key member of the club’s pack. He represented Tonga in the 2017 mid-season Test against Fiji but accepted a place in the Kiwis’ World Cup squad at the end of the season, making his sole appearance off the bench in a 74-6 defeat of Scotland in Christchurch.
An elite go-forward prop with superb mobility and footwork that belied a 120kg frame, as well as boasting excellent ball skills, Fonua-Blake made the decision to switch his allegiance to World Cup darlings Tonga the following season. He played in Tests against Samoa and Australia in 2018 and New Zealand in 2019 but missed the Pacific powerhouse’s historic wins over the Lions and Kangaroos in the latter year.
Fonua-Blake sought a release from Manly at the end of the 2020 season and linked with the Warriors. Widely regarded as being among the NRL’s elite props, he was outstanding for his new club and turned out for Tonga in the mid-2022 Test against New Zealand and all four of its World Cup matches later that year.