Salford Red Devils assistant Krisnan Inu details whirlwind week of potential debutant David Nofoaluma

Ben Olawumi
Salford Red Devils badge, Krisnan Inu, David Nofoaluma

Salford Red Devils new boy David Nofoaluma (Main Image - Credit: Alamy) has had a whirlwind week, as assistant coach Krisnan Inu (Circle - Credit: Salford Red Devils) explains

Salford’s new NRL recruit David Nofoaluma has touched down in Greater Manchester and is there to plug the Red Devils’ Ken Sio-shaped hole, in the words of assistant coach Krisnan Inu.

Having signed on the eve of the new Super League season midway through this month, Nofoaluma arrived from Down Under earlier this week.

Come Sunday when the Red Devils host Castleford Tigers, the 30-year-old could well be thrown straight into the action, even with less than a three-figure tally on the amount of hours he’s been in the UK.

The weight of expectation on a man with over 100 tries in the NRL – between Wests Tigers and Melbourne Storm – is already great, and speaking in today’s pre-match press conference, Inu didn’t play down how vital Nofoaluma is going to be this year.

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Salford new boy David Nofoaluma will fill Ken Sio-sized hole in Red Devils team

Salford lost their Round 1 clash against Leeds Rhinos at Headingley, beaten 22-16 with Chris Hankinson & Deon Cross starting on the wings.

Paul Rowley’s side of course lost overseas ace Sio during the off-season, who had been responsible for the vast majority of their tries over the last five years.

David Nofoaluma
David Nofoaluma scores a try for Wests Tigers in 2023 – Alamy

Sio penned a contract extension, but eventually returned Down Under with that contract cut short on compassionate grounds.

On Nofoaluma, Inu said: “David brings a lot of experience, that’s what he’s here for. He’s here to do a job, the same as Ken Sio would’ve been doing if he was still here.

“We see him (Nofoaluma) slotting into that spot on the wing wherever we see he fits, whether that’s on the left or the right.

“Time will tell with that one, and we’ll see how he goes on both sides as we try to figure it out, seeing how his connection with other players goes too.”

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Krisnan Inu details whirlwind week of potential Red Devils debutant David Nofoaluma

Nofoaluma only met his new team-mates this morning (February 23), but has been named in Salford’s initial 21-man squad for Sunday’s home opener.

Inu simply said ‘he’s got a chance’ when asked whether the winger would be involved in the matchday squad itself this weekend, and explained how much of a whirlwind the last few days have been for the new boy.

The Red Devils assistant said: “Because he came over so short notice, he’s (living) in a hotel at this minute. We hope he’s not there for too long, but for him, our main focus is to make sure that his body’s right.

“When it’s ready, it’s ready, we’ll go off him and how he feels rather than by  ff are happy with how he’s going.

“He was in today, everyone’s introduced themselves and he’s got to see the place for the first time. He’s hit the ground running, found himself a new home here and the boys have instantly taken a liking to him.”

Krisnan Inu
December 2014: Krisnan Inu in action for rugby union outfit Stade Français in the European Challenge Cup against Newcastle Falcons – Alamy

Ex-New Zealand & Samoa international Inu himself made the move from the Southern Hemisphere to the other side of the world a decade ago as he left the NRL for France and rugby union with Stade Français.

In 2015, he’d eventually move into Super League with Catalans Dragons, and has remained in the 13-a-side code here in the Northern Hemisphere even since.

Speaking of his own experiences, the Auckland native added: “I first moved over and moved to France into rugby union, so it’s a lot different to the boys that are coming straight here to the UK and into league.

“I feel the guidance and help you get from players that are here, that plays a big part. You’re getting advice on your surroundings, what to expect and if you’re coming over with family, how all of that works and so on.

“There’s a lot that goes into bringing people over here, but you’ve just got to give them the confidence of saying, ‘you’re here to work and play footy’. That’s number one on the agenda, and then the rest of it we’ll try and manage.

“As long as you’ve got good friends and people that you trust to give you advice, whether it’s players, staff or even just people you’ve met along the way, that has a big influence on how most players get over here.”

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‘When you see the game now, compared to what it was before, because of the rules that have come in, you feel like players are soft’

Aside from discussing Nofoaluma’s arrival in today’s press conference, Inu also – inevitably – touched on the disciplinary procedure, Super League‘s biggest talking point at the minute.

Aaron Moore, Ryan Brierley
Salford Red Devils full-back Ryan Brierley runs off the pitch after referee Aaron Moore sin-bins him during the Round 1 defeat to Leeds Rhinos at Headingley – Alamy

Salford have eventually come through with a clean slate from that Round 1 defeat at Leeds, but had to appeal against – and get overturned at a tribunal – a one-match ban which had been handed to full-back Ryan Brierley.

The Scotland international was sin-binned during the game for a tackle on former team-mate Brodie Croft which resulted in contact with the head, but Inu believes when you look at Brierley‘s track record, it tells you all you need to know.

He continued: “Having Ryan’s past record, which is no record, surely that counts for something. But I don’t know how the RFL uses that, or if they do use it at all.

“Personally, I think they should be. You’re going to have people who do it (infringements) a lot, and then you’re going to have people who don’t do it at all, like Ryan.

“If you’re going to rule using past sections and things that have happened before when you’re considering banning someone, you should also use it to be able to get someone off at the same time – it’s push and pull.”

And as someone who only recently hung up his own boots, retiring at the end of a 2022 campaign which saw him earn promotion with Leigh, then Centurions – Inu told Love Rugby League how glad he is not to be at the mercy of the Match Review Panel every week anymore.

The 36-year-old said: “I think all the past players are happy that they played before (the law changes), because that’s what made people fall in love with the game, the rough sport that we play.

Krisnan Inu
Krisnan Inu in action for Salford Red Devils against Hull FC in 2021 – Alamy

“When you see the game now, compared to what it was before, because of the rules that have come in you feel like players are soft.

“But I think it’s more a case now of players being smart enough to play by the rules. They look soft, but  they’re just playing by the new rules.

“To be honest, I’m not a fan. If I was playing, I probably would have had two red cards already, so I’m not a fan!”

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