Fonua-Blake becoming Sea Eagles leader
Prop Addin Fonua-Blake aims to become a leader at Manly Sea Eagles as he goes into his third season.
Fonua-Blake, who has been capped by both Tonga and New Zealand, feels he's matured enough to provide help to the group of talented young forwards coming through at the club.
The 22-year-old came through a difficult time early in his career, being stood down for disciplinary reasons and then released by the Dragons in 2015.
I'm just here to do my best for the club each week and to also be a good leader for the younger boys coming through.Addin Fonua-Blake
He completed a comprehensive off-field counselling and development program before being cleared to return to the NRL with the Sea Eagles in Round 7 of the 2016 season.
Fonua-Blake played 14 games that year, winning the Ken Arthurson Award as the club's rookie of the year, and 22 more last season.
First included in New Zealand's train-on squad in 2016, he earned a spot in the Kiwis' Rugby League World Cup squad and played one match in the tournament.
He said he learned a lot from the senior players in the squad, particularly Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
"At training, he is always looking to do extras," added Fonua-Blake. "For me as a young guy coming up through the ranks, it was a good opportunity to see what he does."
Now he's looking to step up into a mentoring role at Manly, saying: "I'm just here to do my best for the club each week and to also be a good leader for the younger boys coming through."
Sea Eagles Coach Trent Barrett said part of the key to Fonua-Blake becoming a leader was making sure he does the right thing all of the time.
"Addin is a kid who needs responsibility; when he talks, he has to hold himself accountable for what he is saying," added Barrett. "The young Polynesian kids do look up to him at training, so it is even more important he is doing the right thing; he has come on a hell of a lot in the last couple of years."
Manly are 21.00 to win the grand final.
The Sea Eagles are 1.90 to finish in the top eight.
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