Rugby League

‘You are also paid to pass’: Bennett’s gibe

It’s the Wayne Bennett sledge that could help Wests Tigers recruit James Roberts form the NRL’s most dangerous attacking combination with his new winger and housemate David Nofoaluma.

After six seasons under Bennett at South Sydney and Brisbane, Roberts has joined the Tigers in a bid to revive his enigmatic career.

The former NSW Blues flyer looked comfortable on debut for Wests, producing a freakish flick pass for Nofoaluma to score.

Roberts’ moment of brilliance can be attributed to a gibe he received from Bennett during his two-year tenure at the Rabbitohs.

James Roberts gets a little advice from his former coach Wayne Bennett. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt.Source:AAP

Nofoaluma revealed the supercoach’s spray has also been a topic of discussion with his new housemate and teammate amid fears the pair wouldn’t be able to share the try-scoring spoils at the Tigers this season.

“I’ve already had a chat to James (about him stealing tries off me),” said Nofoaluma, who was the Tigers’ leading try scorer last season with 17 tries.

“We had a conversation about when he was with Wayne Bennett at Souths and Wayne told him, ‘You know you are also paid to pass’.

“I actually laughed and told him that all changes now because I like to score tries. James has taken that on-board, and it showed last weekend when he gave me the ball and I went over for a try.”

Try-scoring banter aside, Nofoaluma couldn’t be happier to join forces in the Tigers’ backline with a proven flyer like Roberts.

He believes the duo possess the ability to become the game’s most formidable attacking partnership.

“The more games we play together, the more confidence and combinations we are going to build,” he said.

“That is going to help us form something that will be dangerous.”

David Nofoaluma is excited about joining forces with James Roberts at the Wests Tigers this season. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Nofoaluma’s connection with Roberts is also building off the field given the pair are housemates.

Their friendship dates back decades as former junior teammates.

“We are the same age, we grew up playing junior representative football together, so we have a bit of a history,” Nofoaluma said about Roberts heading into Sunday’s clash against the Sydney Roosters.

“It has been really good living together.

“I like that we play together on the same side of the field, and when things need to get spoken about it’s there.”

Nofoaluma joked there was never a dull moment in the household now that Roberts had joined the fold.

“James is a bit of a character – some of the things he says are funny,” he said.

“I reckon if you put a camera on our house like a little reality TV show, I reckon we’d get a few viewers because it is all fun at home.”

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