Nofoaluma drew inspiration for try from Krisnan Inu
Sun 1 Sep 2019, 07:01 AM
The spectacular around-the-corner-post try by Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma last weekend was no last-minute whim.
Nofoaluma had been practising hard for just the right moment.
And the second of three tries he scored against the hapless Knights at Campbelltown was that moment.
Nofoaluma has a hat-trick
Hopefully another might come against the Dragons at the SCG on Sunday as the Wests Tigers have the screws on their season finish tightened again.
A Benji Marshall cut-out pass to Nofoaluma on the right wing and the 25-year-old finds himself running out of room as young Newcastle winger Bradman Best squeezes him towards the touchline.
Nofoaluma grubbers ahead for himself, runs around the corner post, gets back into the in-goal before falling on the ball. It was reminiscent of the Roger Federer around-the-net post forehand against Nick Kyrgios at the 2018 US Open.
“I’m not much into tennis but I remember watching a NRL game a long time ago – can’t remember what year – but it was a try to Krisnan Inu when he grubbered it, ran out and ran around back in again,” he said of the Inu’s 2007 try in the Eels round 21 win over the Bulldogs.
Inu grubbers then runs over the touchline but gets one foot back into field before grounding the ball.
Dragons v Wests Tigers - Round 24
“I remember the commentators saying he needed to keep one foot back inside to score a legitimate try,” Nofoaluma told NRL.com.
"Ever since then I’ve been doing it at training. I’ve always wanted to try it. I tried it against Souths (in round 15) but no-one really noticed as the pass to me was called forward.
"So I actually grubbered it, ran around to completed the kick-chase, scored, but they didn’t show it [on big-screen replays].
“It wasn’t a thing that just happened out of the blue. I have been practising at training so I was confident to be able to do that – lucky enough to finally pull it off.”
Seems luck is on Nofoaluma’s side.
That polished performance was part of the first hat-trick of his career. He has scored twice in a match eight times – enjoying the very respectable figures of 57 tries in 117 games.
“Consecutive tries… I know it’s my job to score tries as a winger but I’ve never had three in a row. It took me seven years to do it,” he said.
And from where he began the 2019 season – with a dislocated shoulder, which forced him to miss the first 10 weeks – it’s a fair effort. He now has eight tries in 12 games this year.
“I feel it’s a pretty good achievement to be able to do that considering how many games I’ve missed at the beginning of the season.”
The shoulder is fairly crucial in affecting a good tackle but Nofoaluma hasn’t felt any twinges yet in his comeback.
Marshall magic dominates Knights
"To be honest I haven’t really taken notice of my shoulder. I remember not so long ago in a game and I grabbed my right shoulder. The physio came out to me and I said to him ‘Which shoulder did I dislocate again?’
“I still don’t know. I think it’s the left one,” Nofoaluma said laughing.
“But that’s the moment I knew it was a good thing because I wasn’t sure which side it was.”
Nofaluma and Wests Tigers might not get the same try-scoring spree against the Dragons
“But our points never come by accident. They come off hard work, all the lead-up to the game and all the preparation we do,” Nofoaluma said.
At the start of round 24 matches, the Wests Tigers were eighth in the NRL try-scoring list with 75 – just one behind the Rabbitohs in seventh.
“If we can execute that preparation again, the points should come again.”