New Zealand Warriors coach Nathan Brown revealed ‘I almost fell out of my chair’ when he heard the club were looking for the signing of Addin Fonua-Blake – so thrilled he was on the idea let the bulldozer propeller join his team.
Brown praised the former Manly star in the wake of the Warriors’ first round victory over the Gold Coast Titans at Central Coast Stadium.
Fonua-Blake racked up 177 running yards from 19 hits, made two tackles and made three unloads to inspire the Warriors to a 19-6 win against the much vaunted Titans.
Brown then recounted a conversation about Fonua-Blake with Warriors’ hiring manager Peter O’Sullivan.
“I still remember getting the call from Peter O’Sullivan saying we have a chance to catch this guy and I didn’t really believe it. I almost fell off my chair because they didn’t come. not every day, ”Brown said in his post-game press conference.
“He’s a world class player, isn’t he? I said before – we were lucky to have Addin.
“Recruitment is the key to any club’s success. If you are not recruiting well, you are not doing well.
“Being able to find a player with Addin’s talent and skills was very important. He plays a very important position. He is a very, very important player for our club.
“He’s only 25-26, so his best years are coming.”
Brown kept words of praise for off-season rookie Euan Aitken, who played through injury as New Zealand tried to tackle losses to Wayde Egan and Bayley Sironen due to failed HIA tests.
The Warriors led only 6-0 when they lost Egan in the 46th minute and Sironen, son of great Balmain Paul Sironen and brother of second rower to Manly Curtis Sironen, in the 50th minute.
“All of our new hires were really good today,” Brown said.
“Obviously Addin is a great player. Bailey came to us from Souths and is about 20 games into his career.
“Euan Aitken played with an injury. So he stayed on the pitch when probably under normal circumstances, if we hadn’t lost the guys we had, we probably would have replaced him.
“Benny Murdoch was excellent in his first game in the NRL for about five or six years.
“All of our new recruits have contributed really well.
“Overall, I didn’t really want to isolate a single player.
“I thought, collectively, everyone was working very hard for each other and that’s what got us our victory.”