Addin Fonua-Blake will make his NRL debut for Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in tonight's Brookvale Oval blockbuster against Parramatta.
The 20-year-old front rower was cleared this week to be eligible to play in the NRL after satisfying the NRL Integrity Unit that he had completed a comprehensive off field counselling and development program following an issue while with his former club St.George-Illawarra in January 2015.
Fonua-Blake was granted approval by the NRL to train with the Sea Eagles from November 1 last year. He has played five NSW Cup matches for the Sea Eagles and been outstanding on and off the field.
Manly Warringah Coach Trent Barrett and CEO Joe Kelly said Fonua-Blake had earned his opportunity to play in tonight's big game.
“Addin has worked really hard to give himself a chance to play the game he loves at the highest level and at the same time give his young family the best opportunities he can provide,’’ Barrett said.
“They are his inspiration and when the opportunity came through an injury to Brenton Lawrence, I had no hesitation in bringing him into the side. He is a talent without doubt.”
Mr Kelly said Rugby League had a responsibility to give young men a second chance.
"We have, through our community and welfare departments,facilitated Addin's progress since he joined us last November,’’ Mr Kelly said.
“He has impressed everyone in our organisation and has quickly been accepted by his team mates who have assisted greatly in his rehabilitation program. The game has helped a young man, accompanied by his family, to turn his life around.”