Nofa’s back as Wests Tigers head out to the country

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David Nofoaluma will return for his first NRL match since Round 3 when Wests Tigers travel Bathurst to take on premiers Penrith Panthers this Saturday night.

The Campbelltown local hero will replace the injured Charlie Staines on the wing.

Staines, the former Panther, is out indefinitely after suffering a stomach injury in the heart breaking 22-16 loss against Manly Sea Eagles last Sunday at Campbelltown.

Also missing through illness will be outside back Asu Kepaoa.

However Brent Naden returns to the side and will line up in the centres after missing last weekend’s game due to a shoulder injury.

The loss to Manly, which leaves the club winless after eight rounds – Wests Tigers had a bye in round 7 – will make the Panthers match an even bigger challenge than usual.

Leading 16-14 with less than 10 minutes to go, the Wests Tigers were unable to hold out last Sunday.

Had they managed to scrape home victorious it would have been a massive boost to their confidence.

And while the morale of the playing squad doesn’t seem to have declined in a substantial way, it will be harder and harder to stay positive until they win their first game of the season.

Penrith are not invincible, as South Sydney proved just over a week ago, so Wests Tigers must be given some sort of a chance of coming out on top after 80 minutes.

But they will have to cut out all of the little mistakes they made against Manly, and which ultimately cost them the game.

Hopefully “Nofa’’ will play a blinder to help his team break their 2023 duck.

Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers will be playing for the Royce Simmons Cup in the Round 9 match at Carrington Park, Bathurst.

Kick off is scheduled for 7.35pm.

The Wests Tigers side named by head coach Tim Sheens is:

1.  Jahream Bula  

2.   David Nofoaluma  

3.  Starford To’a  

4.  Brent Naden  

5.  Junior Tupou  

6.  Brandon Wakeham  

7.  Luke Brooks  

8.  Stefano Utoikamanu  

9.  Api Koroisau (c)  

10.  David Klemmer  

11.  Isaiah Papali’i  

12.  John Bateman  

13.  Fonua Pole  


14.  Jake Simpkin  

15.  Joe Ofahengaue  

16.  Alex Twal  

17.  Tommy Talau

18.  Justin Matamua

19.  Alex Seyfarth

20.  Shawn Blore

21.  Daine Laurie

22.  Triston Reilly

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