Nofoaluma NRL axing woke up the Tigers

David Nofoaluma (right) has made the most of his return to the Wests Tigers first-grade side.
David Nofoaluma (right) has made the most of his return to the Wests Tigers first-grade side.

Ivan Cleary's shock decision to drop David Nofoaluma at the start of the NRL season may have been the wake-up call that kickstarted the Wests Tigers' season, the winger believes.

Nofoaluma was a shock omission for the round-one side to face the Sydney Roosters, after a lacklustre pre-season.

Brought back into the side for round two and round three while Tuimoala Lolohea was injured, Nofoaluma appears to have only now earned his spot back.

But the local junior, who has scored 43 tries in 90 games for the club, candidly revealed it may not have been just him who copped a wake-up call with Cleary's decision.

"Obviously round one, when I got dropped, I was pretty gutted and it hit me pretty hard," Nofoaluma said.

"That happens to the best of players and I think it might have been a wake-up call for a lot of players around because I have been at this club since I started.

"By him (Cleary) dropping me just shows it doesn't matter who you are, you have to be the best player in your position to be in this team."

Nofoaluma will line up on the wing again for the Tigers on Sunday against Newcastle in Tamworth, after being recalled for last week's flogging of Manly in place of Lolohea.

The 24-year-old Campbelltown junior claimed his spot off the back of four tries in three games for the first-placed Wests in reserve grade.

His form eventually forced a backline reshuffle in first grade with Corey Thompson going to fullback and Lolohea dropped to NSW Cup.

"All my efforts at training have just been resilience to be the best player I can be," he said.

"Just the small things the preparation and even on game-day just turning up and starting the game off strong.

"I think Ivan's got that culture with every player.

"No matter who you are in the team if you're competing and being the best players he can be, that's what he wants."

Australian Associated Press