David Nofoaluma wears a smile that sits from ear to ear.
Casting an eye towards the lower stands at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, after the Western Suburbs Magpies’ 32-0 win over the Warriors in Round 5 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, there's little cause for concern for the speedy, yet tough, outside back.
Rusted-on fans clad in black and white wear jerseys from eras bygone, and in no uncertain fashion, they let their voices be heard.
“Winning is a big thing, and it quickly becomes a habit."David Nofoaluma
The famed Western Suburbs team song rings around the stadium as Nofoaluma and the table-topping Magpies retreat to the sheds. The 24-year-old winger – with 89 NRL games to his credit – is, as the song suggests, a boy from the western suburbs.
And a proud one at that.
A Campbelltown junior who rose through the Magpies’ ranks before finding his NRL start at the Wests Tigers in 2013, Nofoaluma has been a mainstay in Brett Hodgson’s side to start the 2018 Intrust Super Premiership season – and, perhaps surprisingly so, not to his dismay.
“No, not at all. I’m not disappointed. It’s a rich foundation club with plenty of history, for me being a local junior and representing the Magpies coming through the ranks, it’s always nice to put on the colours again,” Nofoaluma tells NSWRL.com.au.
“One positive thing I can take out of [playing in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW] is that the Wests Tigers have a good side, with plenty of depth there.
“It’s not like I’ve been dropped back and the [NRL] guys aren’t doing well, it’s a sign that everyone’s putting in their best – that can only be a good thing for the club on a whole.”
Their NRL and Intrust Super Premiership NSW record combined, five rounds played, reads an impressive eight wins, two losses – a stark contrast to the start of the club’s respective 2017 seasons.
Only a year into his tenure, club coach Ivan Cleary – supported by Intrust Super Premiership coach and NRL assistant Hodgson – has made ‘winning’ a part of the norm.
“Winning is a big thing, and it quickly becomes a habit. A few of the boys here and there have touched on it, how Ivan’s made every training drill one that you want to be on the right side of,” Nofoaluma says.
“If we lose, we suffer the consequences by doing ‘penalties’. It builds that winning culture, you can see it already. It’s heading in the right direction as you can see, at both levels here at the club.”
A minor hiccup in the form of their one-point, Round 3 loss to the Wyong Roos, remains the only blemish on the Magpies’ record this season.
Putting together an aggregate scoreline of 76-4 in their two outings after that defeat though, Nofoaluma and the side will look to extend their winning run to three matches when they meet the North Sydney Bears in Round 6.
“The group of boys here, they’re all doing a fantastic job. To get back-to-back, strong wins, it’s a credit to all their efforts. 'Hodgo' [Hodgson] has always said that if we defend, our attack will look after itself,” Nofoaluma says.
“There’s been a few times there, throughout different stages of different games, where we’ve had moments where we had to dig it out… I think we’ve done that really well, in the past two weeks especially.
“We’ll take confidence from the past two weeks, and look to keep building. I guess the best thing for us is, at the moment, we’ve still got room to improve.”