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Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma will never forget his first game at Leichhardt Oval. He was a fresh 19-year-old rookie — playing in his second ever NRL match.

With the game on the line and North Queensland ahead on the scoreboard with not long left on the clock, Nofoaluma managed to cross for a winning try as Wests Tigers secured a comeback 22-20 victory.

The international winger is hoping history repeats when Wests Tigers host the Cowboys at the iconic venue on Sunday afternoon.

“I get this feeling every time I go there,” Nofoaluma said when a grin on his face.

“Everyone who has ever played there — past and present players — will remember their first ever game at Leichhardt Oval. It’s a feeling you can never take away.”

With a bumper crowd expected for the Round 5 clash, Nofoaluma is excited to return to the historic ground as the club celebrates Members Appreciation Round.

“All our Members and fans surrounding the stadium, you can’t really describe what the feeling is like,” he said.

“I definitely get goosebumps when I walk down that tunnel and onto the field to see all our fans — I can’t wait. I tell the boys to let it soak in when you go there.”

David Nofoaluma scores the winning try in his first game at Leichhardt Oval in 2013
David Nofoaluma scores the winning try in his first game at Leichhardt Oval in 2013

For Wests Tigers recruit Joe Ofahengaue — he’s only played one NRL game at Leichhardt Oval — an unhappy outing for Brisbane.

Now he can’t wait to run out in Wests Tigers colours and experience the occasion on the home side.

“I played there last year and we got pumped by 50,” Ofahengaue laughed.

“I can’t wait to be on the other end of it — it’s going to be loud and hopefully a beautiful day.

“My parents really love the stadium and they’re coming down for the game.”      

Wests Tigers will be aiming to bounce back from last week’s loss to Parramatta this Sunday. Despite going down on Easter Monday, Nofoaluma saw a number of optimistic signs from the match.

“There were a lot of positives out of that game. It was pretty disappointing we didn’t come away with the win. We deserved it with all the effort we put in,” he said.

“There was a lot to like from our performance but there are still a few key things we need to get on top of — being able to execute in crucial moments and make sure we nail those little moments.”