CHRISTIAN NICOLUSSI,The Daily Telegraph
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WESTS Tigers winger David Nofoaluma says he surprised himself when he somehow pole-axed good mate — and one of rugby league’s most intimidating forwards — Marty Taupau.
Nofoaluma re-lived the moment he held his nerve, picked up Taupau and drove him into the Leichhardt Oval turf.
The surprise shot on Monday night was just one of the many highlights from the Tigers’ second victory in as many games to start the season.
“I remember chasing the ball down and it was the second play when they came the short side,’’ Nofoaluma said.
“I wasn’t expecting it and Marty came straight towards me. Part of me was thinking, ‘I’m going to get hammered here’, while the other half of me was thinking, ‘just put your body on the line’.
“I put everything into the tackle and just happened to pull off a good shot. Only one out of 100 times I’d get that hit on him. We were close when he was here at the Tigers. He works hard in the gym, he’s a very powerful player, and I just got lucky.’’
While Nofoaluma’s tackle drew a decent cheer from the Tigers’ faithful, it’s been the side’s attack that has really set tongues wagging.
Halves Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses, along with superstar fullback James Tedesco, have been given a licence to entertain by coach Jason Taylor, and the Tigers have proven a real handful, racking up 70 points in two games.
Nofoaluma has also been one of the beneficiaries of the new-look attack, with the winger and right centre partner Kevin Naiqama receiving plenty of early ball to work their magic.
“With Mitch and Brooksy, and Teddy out the back, doing what they want to do, it also gives us outside backs to finish the job,’’ Nofoaluma said.
“I like it when I get some open space within 20 metres (of the tryline), and with Teddy coming around the back and Mitch giving him the ball, it gives Teddy options with me and Kevvy on our side.
“It gives us more time to think about how we get across the tryline.
“Mitch has been playing out of his skin, and I can see he’s happy on the field. He’s doing really well, I’m happy for him, and I’m sure he’s got bigger things coming up for him.’’
Nofoaluma, like plenty of his teammates, has been mindful to not get carried away with the blazing start, and knows the importance of not bombing games they’re expected to win, like this Saturday’s trip to the Gold Coast.