David Nofoaluma drama deepens after Wests Tigers board bloodbath

The Tigers veteran's fate could be linked to chairman Lee Hagipantelis' future after his training no show.

David Nofoaluma pictured
Wests Tigers star David Nofoaluma could reportedly be sacked after a training no-show. Image: Getty

Wests Tigers star David Nofoaluma is reportedly set to be sacked after a training no-show was compounded by the dismissal of chairman Lee Hagipantelis and the entire Wests Tigers board following an internal review. Hagipantelis and chief executive Justin Pascoe both departed the club on Tuesday, with the latter understood to have offered his resignation, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Hagipantelis was said to have been a big fan of Nofoaluma's and with the chairman now gone it is expected the NRL veteran will also be shown the door, according to WWOS. The 30-year-old is the Tigers' all-time leading try-scorer but infuriated club officials after he didn't turn up to training. He subsequently lodged an official complaint with the RLPA, alleging he was treated unfairly in regards to his fitness upon returning to pre-season training last month.

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Nofoaluma is understood to have been physically 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, the Tigers great walked out. Nofoaluma complained that there was a lack of communication about the methods being used to improve his fitness.

In the time trial, the winger was reportedly beaten by some of the Tigers' middle forwards, leaving the coaching staff highly unimpressed. Reports suggest a number of his teammates believed he should be at a higher standard at this point in pre-season.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Benji Marshall of the Tigers talks with David Nofoaluma of the Tigers after playing his last game for the Tigers following the round 20 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels at Bankwest Stadium on September 26, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
The 30-year-old is the Tigers' all-time leading try-scorer but infuriated Tigers officials after he didn't turn up to training. Image: Getty (Cameron Spencer via Getty Images)

Nofoaluma returned to training on Monday but did not take part in the field session as a result of a calf injury. News Corp reports the winger wants to remain at Leichardt but the Tigers want him gone and have been working on offloading him

The veteran was shipped off to the Storm as part of a loan deal in 2022, where he played six matches before returning to the Tigers in 2023. He is reportedly earning around $500,000 per season and has two years left on his contract.

Tigers board undergoes cleanout

Tuesday's Tigers board cleanout will see the club undergo a massive reshuffle. Sacked chairman Hagipantelis is the Tigers’ major sponsor but had no say in his future as only the club's shareholders — the Holman Barnes Group, Wests and Balmain — hold the power to make the changes.

The Tigers had a board meeting scheduled for Tuesday night but it is understood to have been pushed back a day to allow for the completion of legal documents and for the club's new leadership structure to be put in place. The board exodus follows an independent review that was ordered by the Holman Barnes Group and undertaken by former NRL chief financial officer Tony Crawford and Gary Barnier.

Former NSW premier Barry O'Farrell will become the interim chairman, while ex-Rabbitohs chief executive Shane Richardson will replace Pascoe as the club's chief executive. It will be the second stint as Tigers chair for O'Farrell who stepped down after less than a year in the role after being appointed four years ago.

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