Fonua-Blake taking his chances
Sea Eagles firebrand Addin Fonua-Blake has revealed the redemption tale of teammate Siosaia Vave has set him on his own personal journey towards better fitness.
Fonua-Blake said his own quest to become a better athlete has been inspired by the hard work of Vave over the off-season, with the duo not only teammates but roommates when the Sea Eagles travel away.
NRL.com revealed earlier this year that the off-contract Vave had lost a whopping 16 kilograms over the pre-season to give his flailing first grade career hope in 2016.
Only Vave and Lewis Brown have featured in every game for the Sea Eagles since.
Fonua-Blake and Vave lived in Parramatta over the pre-season and would leave the area at 3am every morning to travel to the Sea Eagles' base in Narrabeen together for what the former estimated to be an extra four training sessions per week.
Admitting it was tough, Fonua-Blake believes he has reaped the rewards in the form of an NRL debut and said he won't stop in his efforts to improve his fitness and game productivity.
"It's a personal goal because I know I have to be fitter and I've put it on myself to come in and do extras," Fonua-Blake said.
"I'm working hard now and hopefully leading towards the back end of the season I can come out with better fitness and more minutes for the boys.
"I wasn't really overweight in the off-season but Trent spoke to me about making the right choices on and off the field. He stuck with me the whole pre-season and has since rewarded me by giving me my NRL debut."
The 20-year-old said Vave's journey has been encouraging for an impressionable NRL rookie like himself.
"Siosaia's a good mate of mine. He's always there for me and we're always talking. He has good advice for me and just seeing what he's done and how he's playing this year is a bit of an inspiration for me," Fonua-Blake said.
"He knows what he's on about, he's a good talker as well so I listen to him a lot."
Fonua-Blake even earned the stamp of approval from Sea Eagles skipper Jamie Lyon with the veteran centre under the impression that a long career beckons for the Mascot Jets junior.
"Addin has shown a lot of talent this year and we know how good he is going to be," Lyon said.
"He's only going to get better and we need to give him the best chance to play some good footy because he's going to be one hell of a player down the track."
Against the Cowboys last Monday night, Fonua-Blake and Vave combined for three tries, with the six-game rookie making sure to get one over the veteran journeyman.
"I couldn't leave the field after he scored without scoring a try, it would've been a bit of a battle back in our hotel room," Fonua-Blake laughed. "So I had to score two to outdo him."