How Salford Red Devils secured the surprise signing of David Nofoaluma

Drew Darbyshire
David Nofoaluma Salford Red Devils Alamy

Salford Red Devils have signed NRL winger David Nofoaluma - Alamy

Salford have boosted their squad depth on the eve of the new Super League season with the addition of former Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma on a 12-month deal. 

Reports broke in Australia overnight that Nofoaluma was headed for the Red Devils after he gave an interview to News Corp admitting he was set to make the move to England. Wing has been a position Salford have been keen to strengthen ever since they lost Ken Sio and Joe Burgess for two very different reasons in the off-season.

Love Rugby League has been told that conversations have been ongoing with Nofoaluma for as long as two months, dating back to the beginning of pre-season. Salford were also looking at options to bolster their pack but when it became apparent they could get the Nofoaluma deal done, they focussed their attention on the 30-year-old – feeling that a quota spot would be better used on a strike player.

Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley, who admitted in his weekly press conference on Wednesday that Nofoaluma was on his way, telling Love Rugby League: “His CV is very impressive, we lost Joe and Ken during pre-season who have been fantastic for us over the years and generally are at the forefront of everything that has been good for Salford.

“So they are big boots to fill and I think with the players we’ve brought in, in Ethan Ryan and Nofoaluma who will be with us shortly, and even Chris Hankinson, I think we’ve added some real quality to our backline and when you look at it now it’s got a little bit of depth and an awful lot of quality, so we’re really happy with how that’s looking with the addition of David.”

Nonetheless, Salford – who were planning to announce Nofoaluma on their own terms later on Wednesday, were certainly taken aback when they woke up to the news that he had announced his own transfer.

Rowley laughed: “I think I got in the gym at six o’clock this morning and a Salford fan told me that one! I’m not going to sit here and lie to you, it looks like David will be coming over in the foreseeable.”

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The influence of Krisnan Inu

Nofoaluma arrives on a fairly cut-price deal too, owing largely to the fact he has received a bumper payout from the Tigers believed to be in the region of $300,000. It means the 30-year-old had much lower demands when it came to salary than if he had not been paid up by the Tigers, making a deal much easier to strike at a time when the club have been battling being placed into special measures, too.

One other key aspect to the deal? Red Devils assistant Krisnan Inu.

“We’ve been in conversation with a lot of players and then the measures has blocked some moves, some moves where players have come over to Super League and are playing now in other clubs that we had pretty much had done, but the measures stopped that,” Rowley explains.

“David was one of those, in particularly his relationship with Krissy Inu and I’ve said this before, Kris’ relationship on both sides of the world has been really advantageous to us so the comms had been in and around there, and then we got it over the line when we needed to. I think that relationship was at the forefront of David picking us over others, so it was good work all around. The club has done really good to back the coaching staff there and bring us a new player in, so we’re grateful for that.”

Salford now hope Nofoaluma – who scored 100 NRL tries for the Tigers – could arrive in time for their game against Castleford next week. They believe they are getting a player with a point to prove after his tumultuous exit from Wests and while nothing is certain beyond the initial one-year deal, all parties are satisfied with the length of contract.

“I know he’s had better offers but his relationship with Krissy was a deal breaker, he chose what he felt was right and he wants to come and enjoy his rugby and back himself to go again in the future and earn himself further contracts. He’s here for the right reasons and all the markers say that and the information we’ve got, he’s really, really positive.”

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