David Nofoaluma would have been looking forward to playing against Melbourne Storm this Friday night.
The veteran winger spent last season on loan with Craig Bellamy’s side, but unfortunately a quiet start to this season with Wests Tigers has meant that he will be playing in the NSW Cup for the Magpies this weekend instead of travelling to Melbourne.
It’s a fair call from Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens, who has seen his side lose their first three matches to low ranked Titans, Newcastle and Canterbury – the first two at Leichhardt.
And while nobody in the backline has been setting the world on fire thus far, Nofoaluma has not been playing up to his usual high standard this season, so it is no surprise he has been dropped.
Charlie Staines returns to the wing for the Storm clash after wearing the number one jersey at Belmore.
There are a few other changes to the side which lost 26-22 to the Bulldogs on Sunday, with Daine Laurie, Isaiah Papali’i and Alex Seyfarth coming into the team.
But the biggest change is in the halves.
Adam Doueihi has been shifted to fullback to make room for Brandon Wakeham, who made his club debut off the bench at Belmore – and making a difference almost immediately.
Wakeham has been named in the number six jumper and Luke Brooks at seven, but every man and his dog knows that their actual roles on Friday night will be the other way around.
Papali’i slots back into the second row alongside John Bateman after serving a one-match suspension, pushing Asu Kepaoa to the centres.
Laurie will wear the number 14 jersey after missing Round 3 due to a knee injury.
Also named as an interchange is middle forward Alex Seyfarth who played NSW Cup last weekend.
Hooker Jake Simpkin has been included in the extended squad after missing Round 3 (concussion protocols).
The match will kick off at 6pm.
1. Adam Doueihi
2. Charlie Staines
3. Brent Naden
4. Asu Kepaoa
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. Daine Laurie
15. Alex Twal
16. Shawn Blore
17. Alex Seyfarth
18. Starford To’a
19. Joe Ofahengaue
20. Justin Matamua
21. David Nofoaluma
22. Jake Simpkin