David Nofoaluma hopes Monday’s upset win over the Eels to give under fire playmaker Luke Brooks some breathing space, lauding his Wests Tigers teammate for his ongoing mental resilience.
Footage captured by Fox League cameras post-match showed Brooks greeted by his teammates in style after their upset win on Easter Monday with Nofoaluma among those leading the charge.
The pair are the longest-serving Wests Tigers players at the club and yet to play finals footy after a decade playing in the NRL together.
Brooks’ combination with Jackson Hastings looked promising for the club while the 27-year-old found himself at hooker late in the contest.
“It is a relief, especially after all the criticism we’ve copped towards a few players in the team and as a club, it’s good to finally get the win, it gives us a bit of confidence,” Nofoaluma told NRL.com.
“We’ve been building and doing well at training and growing as a team but unfortunately at the start of the season it wasn’t transferring onto game day.
“It takes a bit of pressure off Brooksy. People put a lot of pressure on him, it’s unfair. He’s been at this club for a long time and done a lot of things in the game.
“Everyone plays a part in team sport and he’s the one who is copping it.”
Madge talks Brooks switch and pressure relief
Nofoaluma said Brooks takes the criticism “on board” and just looks to focus on doing his job for the side.
“He’s good at hiding his emotions but you can always tell with a player how they’re feeling,” Nofoaluma said.
“He cops a lot of heat and what really matters is how we look after him internally. That’s all he cares about and he’s got our support 100%.”
Nofoaluma will notch up his 170th NRL game for the club on Saturday, almost a decade since he made his NRL debut against the Rabbitohs in 2013.
After becoming the club’s leading try scorer last season, Nofoaluma has come a long way since he played his first match against a Michael Maguire-coached Rabbitohs side who piled on 54 points that night.
“I wouldn’t want to think of that game one bit because I ended up on the back page the next day trying to catch GI after a 90-metre try,” he laughed.
“It’s definitely gone fast. A lot of players say rugby league goes at the click of a finger. I understand that so try and make the most of every opportunity.”
The Rabbitohs looked at their cut-throat best in stages in last week’s win over the Bulldogs and have won seven of their last nine against the Wests Tigers.
However, Nofoaluma said their confidence had sky-rocketed after the breakthrough win.
“It just shows all the hard work we’ve been doing at training around technical stuff and adjusting on the go, we knew eventually it would turn,” he said.
Match: Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs
Round 7 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney