Flying wingers face off for final time
Former Wests Tigers under-20s mates David Nofoaluma and Marika Koroibete will mark each other for the second and final time this weekend before the latter heads to the 15-man game and Nofoaluma is hoping to finish with the bragging rights.
The pair came through the NYC system together and played two seasons together in the top grade before Koroibete's move to Melbourne.
They have, through circumstance, faced off just once since – Koroibete put two tries past his old mate while Nofoaluma finished with ultimate bragging rights, bagging a four-pointer of his own plus the win in the Round 21, 2015 fixture.
Nofoaluma missed his team's first meeting with Melbourne this year through injury and hopes for a strong swansong before his old mate links up with the Melbourne Rebels next year.
"We were partners since 20s and we came up to first grade together so we have a good little friendship there," Nofoaluma said.
"But he's always a good opponent to come up against and it's going to be something to look forward to.
"He's scored a couple of tries on me and I've done the same back. It's kind of a laugh after the game because we've had that friendship since 20s here at Wests Tigers. Like I said I'm looking forward to it."
While there is a friendly rivalry there, it stops short of pre-game sledging, according to Nofoaluma.
"Nah, I think we'll leave that on the field, we don't want to mess around with each other too much!" he laughed.
Pressed about whether this could be the last meeting between the two in an NRL game, Nofoaluma added: "I suppose he might have his own circumstances there but whatever he decides, that's what he does. While he's here now and it could be our last game I'll enjoy going up against him."
Nofoaluma and his inside man Kevin Naiqama have formed a lethal combination on the Wests Tigers right edge this year, with both in top form. Melbourne's left side of Koroibete and Cheyse Blair have only had a few weeks to get their combination together and will have a job on their hands trying to shut down not only the Tigers edge men but playmakers Mitchel Moses and James Tedesco, who have slotted into plenty of dangerous left-side shifts already this year.
"[We've been] training hard together and knowing what we're doing as [a combination] and I think that's coming along really well," Nofoaluma said.
"Kevvie's been doing good, Teddy's been coming over, Mitch. We're working really well and we've been doing that since pre-season. Last year we were a bit mixed up in the positions and stuff but this year we've got that one position and we know our role and I think that's the main key."