The front-rower’s management team claim he left the dressing room early because he was disappointed in his performance and needed to “reflect on his own”. Coach Andrew Webster said in a statement: “This doesn’t meet our standards and Addin accepts full responsibility for his behaviour.”

Fonua-Blake will head to the Sharks next year but his suspension has ignited speculation he could walk immediately and land at Cronulla before the June 30 player deadline. Truth is often stranger than fiction in rugby league – and Fonua-Blake has form in this area. He asked for – and was granted – a release to leave Manly and join the Warriors in 2021.

“It doesn’t add up, it’s strange,” Matty Johns said on SEN radio. “I’ve seen this a million times how this plays out. The disgruntled player…you can just see it coming.

“The first thing that crosses your mind is ‘early release’. That’s what you think. If they’re (Cronulla) eight bucks to win the comp (and) they land Fonua-Blake, they go into fives, sixes.”

Johns conceded it was a risky ploy by the Warriors to potentially alienate their most damaging forward, but applauded Webster for not compromising on his beliefs. “It is very principled to stand down close to the best

yardage man in the competition at the moment,” Johns said. “When you’ve got young players that are looking for guidance and looking particularly at a senior player who does that, if they just let that slide a lot of the younger players (think) it gives them a little bit of breathing space and a little bit of rope.”