A one-on-one chat with coach Jason Taylor last July was the catalyst for a stunning return to form for Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma.
The 23-year-old racked up over 200 metres against the Rabbitohs on the weekend with seven tackle breaks and a career-high six offloads to help guide his side to an impressive 16-point victory.
However, Nofoaluma admits football was far from his mind at different stages of the season last year, with personal issues affecting his performances on the field for the joint venture
“I lost focus with the game,” Nofoaluma told NRL.com.
"I wasn’t switched on or as professional as I should be and my attitude wasn’t the best.
"I had a few off field issues and just needed to get my head back in the game.
"I sat down with JT (Taylor) and he helped me at the backend of last year which kind of showed a lot when my performances started to pick up.
"Then I come into pre-season really clear-minded and focused on footy which helps a lot going into this season because the main focus is on rugby league and everything outside of that looks after itself.
“JT was a big part of that in helping me mentally.”
Pleased with Nofoaluma’s Round 1 performance against the Rabbitohs, Taylor said he had “big hopes” for the Campbelltown junior who is off-contract at season’s end.
“He was our best player at the backend of last year,” Taylor said after Friday night’s win.
"He’s really turned his life and footy around, and you saw that tonight.
“The offloads aren’t something we’ve worked on with him and there was a point where we were thinking is he going to stop at some stage, but it was creating stuff and they were really smart.”
The City Origin representative put his newfound offloading ability down to the confidence and maturity he has gained since making his NRL debut back in 2013.
“I have a bit of offload in me but I feel a bit more confident this year, not only in that but as a player and a person,” he said.
"Things happen and I just play the way I feel in the moment… I’m not hesitant to do it.
“I want this season to be even better and I’ve done everything I possibly could in the off-season to make sure I came in with the right mindset and it (Round 1) was a great start.”
Sunday’s clash with the Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers shapes as a blockbuster, with New South Wales Origin stars James Tedesco and Matt Moylan going head-to-head at fullback and Tigers skipper Aaron Woods coming up against fellow Blues prop James Tamou at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Incredibly for Tedesco, the Panthers are the only side he is yet to score a four-pointer against, but Nofoaluma insists it is only a matter of time that the Camden junior makes it over the line.
“Everyone knows what he can do, and he opens opportunity to the players around him,” Nofoaluma said.
"When you’ve got players like Teddy (Tedesco), Brooksy (Luke Brooks) and Mitch (Moses) that can spark things, the other boys build off that.
"Every player in this team has a role and for the past year the players we’ve got know what we are capable of.
“As a team, we’re going somewhere.”