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David Nofoaluma in $300,000 split with Wests Tigers as Benji Marshall puts foot down

The veteran winger has parted ways with the club after being served with a termination notice.

David Nofoaluma and Benji Marshall.
David Nofoaluma and Benji Marshall at the Wests Tigers. Image: Getty

David Nofoaluma has taken a $300,000 payout to leave the Wests Tigers as Benji Marshall continues to make his mark on the Wests Tigers. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday that the veteran winger had been served with a termination notice, and it later emerged that he's parted ways with the club.

The 30-year-old had reportedly been handed two breach notices within the space of a month after he “failed to adhere to club protocols when it comes to missing training due to illness”. The winger is said to have told a club official that he wouldn't be at training last Monday due to a bout of gastro, with club officials failing in attempts to contact him in the 48 hours that followed.

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The Tigers then sent a club official to his house to check on him after “numerous attempts by several people to contact him” failed. The club then served him with a termination notice and offered a $300,000 payout. He still had two years remaining on a contract worth over $1 million.

The 30-year-old is the Tigers' all-time leading try-scorer, but angered officials at pre-season training in December. Nofoaluma is understood to have been struggling at training with his fitness and recorded a below-par time-trial result.

When coaches reportedly pushed the winger to get his fitness up, he is said to have walked out. Nofoaluma complained that there was a lack of communication about the methods being used to improve his fitness. In the time-trial he was reportedly beaten by some of the club's middle forwards.

Reports suggest a number of his teammates believed he should be at a higher standard at this point in pre-season. Amid the drama, Nofoaluma reportedly expressed his anger to the Rugby League Players’ Association that new coach Marshall told him he wouldn't play first grade again if he remained at the Tigers.

David Nofoaluma.
David Nofoaluma in action for the Wests Tigers. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

David Nofoaluma fell out of favour at Wests Tigers

Nofoaluma had fallen out of favour at the Tigers over the last few seasons and is said to be on the outer with the playing group as well. He was loaned to the Melbourne Storm near the end of the 2022 season and got to play finals footy for the first time.

But he had since returned to the Tigers and hadn't gotten on well with Marshall. Former NRL player Justin Horo said last year: “He has State of Origin potential, he carries the ball really well, but defensively he has had a lot of issues like most wingers.

“He goes down to Melbourne and he immerses himself in a great system, everyone buys in and everyone does their job. He starts scoring tries and remember, he wasn’t scoring tries for the Tigers before he went down there. He then plays finals footy which he hadn’t done ever.

David Nofoaluma in action for the Melbourne Storm.
David Nofoaluma in action for the Melbourne Storm in 2022. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) (Cameron Spencer via Getty Images)

“He comes back to the Tigers and there’s just been issues ever since and Benji Marshall would have a really good relationship with David. The last thing you need is one player not buying in and David Nofoaluma is clearly not happy.

“I think it might be time for Nofoaluma to move on and it really coincides with his time down in Melbourne. He is looking for a fresh start and he was really happy down there. I think it’s best for all parties to move on.”

Marshall has taken over as the Tigers head coach after Tim Sheens was shown the door one season early. Sheens was supposed to keep mentoring Marshall in 2024 with a view for Benji to take over in 2025, but that plan was brought forward as the Tigers finished last in 2023 for the second year running.

Marshall has since overseen somewhat of a clean-out, with the entire board sacked and controversial recruitment boss Scott Fulton shown the door. Fulton had clashed with Marshall last year and publiclly criticised his methods. Nofoaluma was said to be a favourite of former chairman Lee Hagipantelis, who was sacked with the rest of the board.

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