BASED on key attacking statistics, David Nofoaluma would not have looked out of place in Kingscliff preparing to make his NSW Origin debut on the wing.
But the Wests Tigers flyer knows he must fix his leaky defence if he is any hope of forcing his way into the Blues team and playing along side good mate James Tedesco.
Nofoaluma spent this week in Manly where the Tigers completed their own intense training camp.
When Tom Trbojevic broke down with injury and created a wing vacancy for NSW a couple of weeks ago, Tedesco told Nofoaluma he needed to start giving some serious thought to pulling on the Blues jersey.
Brett Morris and Blake Ferguson were named NSW’s wingers for Origin I next Wednesday.
The Nofoaluma Blues debate is not as crazy as it sounds considering he leads the overall competition for tackle busts.
He has also made more metres than any other winger except for Brisbane and Queensland flyer Corey Oates, and the third most linebreaks behind internationals Suliasi Vunivalu and Jordan Rapana.
The 23-year-old has been arguably the standout performer after 11 rounds in an awful Tigers team.
But Nofoaluma has missed more tackles than any other winger — and is now working on that area so he can bump himself up the Blues pecking order.
“I know there are things I need to work on, and once I get that sorted it will be good,’’ Nofoaluma told The Daily Telegraph.
“We changed a bit of the defence in the pre-season, it didn’t work, and it’s hard to change something you’ve practised in the pre-season.
“Ivan (Cleary) and myself and the coaching staff are working hard to improve that.
“Once my defence gets sorted, my attack looks after itself.
“I’d love to play Origin, I just have to keep playing great footy and hopefully I’ll get that opportunity.
“I need to get to the point where the selectors have no other choice but to pick me. That’s what happened with ‘Teddy’ when the selectors had to pick him, and the fans wanted him in the team.’’
Nofoaluma, 23, played for City last year, only for a knee injury to rule him out of Samoa’s international earlier this month.
He said the bye round had come at the perfect time for the club after the dramas on and off the field across the opening 11 rounds.
Unlike Tedesco, skipper Aaron Woods and Mitchell Moses, Nofoaluma inked a new deal with the club, and even waived the cooling-off period because he wanted some positive news for the Tigers fans.
Nofoaluma said the 2018 arrivals of Josh Reynolds, Russell Packer, Ben Matulino and the likely signature of Tui Lolohea made it easy to remain positive the remainder of this season.
The Tigers will return next weekend to play the high-flying Dragons, with Nofoaluma determined to stop Jason Nightingale who put three tries on him earlier this year.