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Wests Tigers duo Joey Leilua and David Nofoaluma.

Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma said he hopes he and new centre partner Joey Leilua can replicate the 'Leipana' partnership which helped drive Canberra's recent NRL success.

Between 2015 and 2019, Leilua and wing partner Jordan Rapana formed a lethal one-two punch for the Raiders, built around their knack of creating something out of nothing.

Nofoaluma didn't have to wait long to experience the benefits of playing next to Leilua – who signed with the Tigers for three years in January – scoring a pair of tries in the Rotorua trial.

After the game, Nofoaluma said he hopes they can eventually enjoy a partnership similar to what Leilua enjoyed with Rapana. 

"BJ [Leilua] had that combination with Rapana over at Canberra and I'd like to build that sort of similar thing," Nofoaluma told

Match Highlights: Warriors v Wests Tigers

"It worked very well in Canberra ... it'd be good to replicate that but in our own way.

"BJ is that type of player who creates something out of nothing and I am happy to have him there.

"It's been a long time since I have been able to put combinations together with a centre, so I am glad that he has joined the team.

"I'm pretty happy with my performance ... it's exciting working with BJ too."

While full of praise for the pair's impact on the match, Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire said the best of what they can produce together will come later in the season.

"The combinations there will definitely grow," Maguire told

"For those boys, it's the first time they have really come together in a game. We have just got to continue to build that edge.

Wests Tigers utility Adam Doueihi.
Wests Tigers utility Adam Doueihi. ©NRL Photos

"Joey showed some really good signs with his attack, but the one thing I was really pleased about was actually the way he defended.

"He put himself up in the line in the right position and forced a few opposition errors."

Meanwhile, Maguire said he was confident skipper Moses Mbye will be declared fit round one, despite straining his knee inside the opening 15 minutes and failing to return.

Mbye suffered a minor head knock in the collision – which happened while attempting a tackle – and while he passed his HIA he was kept on ice for the remainder of the game and will have scans on his knee.

The Tigers fielded their strongest available line-up against the Warriors and overcame an early 6-0 deficit to score 20 unanswered points in an impressive showing.

Corey Thompson and fellow fullback option Adam Doueihi were both given time in the position, while Josh Reynolds was a standout after coming on from the bench around the half-hour mark.

Josh Reynolds after scoring against the Warriors.
Josh Reynolds after scoring against the Warriors. ©NRL Photos

Reynolds scored a try after replacing Billy Walters at hooker and then switched to the halves late in the match.

"I'll sit down and have a look at both [fullbacks]. I am very spoilt at the moment I suppose with that quality," Maguire told

"I thought Josh was strong. He brings a lot of energy which we all know, but his diligence around how I want him to play was something I was pleased with.

"I will go away and make a decision around [hooker]. I thought Billy did some good things as well and you have got to remember in the first half we didn't have the ball much and Billy had the world's biggest wingers running at him a lot of the time.

"We have got some big decisions to make moving forward."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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