Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence were farewelled after Wests Tigers’ loss to Parramatta, but several other NRL players will also leave as part of a cleanout.
Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire believes top try-scorer David Nofoaluma should be considered for State of Origin selection this season.
Maguire has put in a good word with NSW selectors.
After a hat-trick in the Wests Tigers’ stunning 34-32 win over Manly on Saturday, Nofoaluma now has 17 tries for the season at a strike rate of one a game.
The 26-year-old has previously been on the fringe of Origin selection in the past but Maguire believes this could be the season he finally catches the attention of Blues officials.
“I agree that he can definitely play at that level,” Maguire said.
“Just his hunger and fight to improve as a player will definitely put him in that contention, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when the teams get selected.”
Selection for Origin squads is still seven weeks away with the first match of the tri-series to be played on November 4.
However, with NRL finals around the corner, talk is starting to turn towards team selections given a slew of injury and form concerns for both states.
Incumbent winger Josh Addo-Carr should retain his place, but Parramatta’s Blake Ferguson is still without a try from his last 15 NRL games and Latrell Mitchell has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic played centres for the Blues last year and would be a walk-up start under usual conditions.
But unless Trbojevic returns from injury over the next three weeks, coach Brad Fittler will be taking a gamble on his match fitness given he wouldn’t have played a game since Round 6.
And with Nofoaluma, he’d be getting a passionate debutant.
“He’s passionate, he has pride in what he does and I think everyone can see that in the way he plays,” McGuire said of his winger.
“Dave has really developed his game and I’m really looking forward to seeing what may happen at the end of the year for him and all of those sorts of things.
“He works really hard at what he’s trying to achieve at the moment and he’s getting the rewards and it’s what you want to see.”