Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma has become the club’s all-time leading try-scorer in the team’s 42-24 victory over Brisbane in a game that had more twists and turns than a cheap garden hose.
Nofoaluma broke the club record when he scored his 85th NRL try in the 30th minute at Suncorp Stadium — going ahead of Chris Lawrence and Benji Marshall on the scorers list — and the team celebrated the winger’s achievement by claiming victory to move to within one win of the top eight.
Star playmaker Adam Doueihi was phenomenal in his return to five-eighth as he recorded five try-assists to help his side claim their first win in a month — setting a platform for the final seven rounds of the regular season.
The 18-point triumph marks the first time Wests Tigers have recorded three-straight wins against the Broncos in the club’s history.
Wests Tigers debutants Junior Pauga and Tuki Simpkins had performances to remember as Pauga scored in his first NRL match, while Simpkins had a number of strong carries and offloads.
Although the match ended well for Wests Tigers, it was a disappointing start for the visitors with Broncos winger Corey Oates bagging the opening try of the match after just five minutes with a spectacular put-down in the left corner — followed by a sideline conversion from Jamayne Isaako.
The home side then added an extra two points through a Isaako penalty goal after Ken Maumalo was penalised for throwing the ball away at a scrum.
On the back of multiple repeat sets, Wests Tigers marched up field and managed to reduce the deficit to 8-6 when five-eighth Adam Doueihi took on the line before linking with forward Luciano Leilua to score.
Nofoaluma scores record try
The Broncos, however, retook a six-point advantage when Jordan Riki pounced on a delicate grubber kick from Tyson Gamble after 17 minutes.
Doueihi had his second try assist of the afternoon — sending a stunning Harbour Bridge pass to David Nofoaluma, who crossed to be the all-time leading try-scorer in Wests Tigers history.
The home side scored next when Payne Haas hit the line hard and offloaded for Thomas Flegler to score — giving the Broncos an 18-10 lead at the break.
Wests Tigers hit back immediately in the second half as Daine Laurie scored his seventh try of the season from another Doueihi assist — however five-eighth couldn’t land the sideline conversion as the Broncos led by four points.
On the ensuing set, Laurie made a breathtaking line-break to the other end of the field before Brooks and Doueihi linked up with Tommy Taulau to score for the away side’s first lead of the afternoon.
The vocal crowd in Brisbane were treated to free-flowing footy all afternoon as the Broncos hit back through a Kotoni Staggs try off a Riki line-break.
The match took another turn with 20 minutes remaining when Wests Tigers regained a two-point lead when Talau scored his second four-pointer of the afternoon when he cut back in-field to beat a number of tired defenders.
On a special afternoon for Nofoaluma, the star winger scored another try to give his side a handy buffer, before Pauga crossed on debut — a moment the centre will never forget.
Following a week in camp with the NSW Origin team, Stefano Utoikamanu returned to club land in style with a try to extend his side’s lead to 18.
Wests Tigers 42 (Talau 2, Nofoaluma 2, L.Leilua, Laurie, Pauga, Utoikamanu tries; Doueihi 5/8 goals) def. Brisbane Broncos 24 (Oates, Riki, Flegler, Staggs tries; Isaako 4/5 goals) at Suncorp Stadium.
Match: Broncos v Wests Tigers
Round 18 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane