NRL: Storm warning that has Nelson Asofa-Solomona on the right track

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Storm wrecking ball Nelson Asofa-Solomona says all talk of him being a dirty player is just ‘white noise’ but admits teammates told him he had to be careful with it the finals in a few weeks.

The mountain man is one of the most misunderstood players in the NRL.

Off the field he is a gentle giant, but when he crosses the white line he becomes the most destructive enforcer in all of rugby league.

For the most part, this aggression is perfectly under control. But when you’re 200cm tall and 115kg, it can go wrong, and that’s why he’s flirted with suspension several times this year.

Asofa-Solomona was fined for a high shot at Parramatta’s Makahesi Makatoa which the NRL later acknowledged should have deserved a suspension, and he was fined another for collecting Jordan Rapana last month.

But an incident across the divide caused the most outrage when Asofa-Solomona was not charged over a misplaced elbow that knocked out some of Wayde Egan’s teeth.

This led some people to say that the Storm players were a protected species from the Match Review Board and that their star striker was a dirty player.

“It’s all white noise,” Asofa-Solomona told NCA NewsWire.

“I just focus on my work. It’s not for me to distribute the consequences. I just focus on my work. I am a simple man and I control what I can control.

The 26-year-old says any foul play this year has been purely accidental, but he knows he’s walking a fine line, prompting some of his teammates to tell him to curb his enthusiasm in defence.

“They told me to be careful because I’m such a big person,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s difficult because things happen so fast and crashes happen all the time, especially with the speed of the game.

“It’s inevitable that there will be sloppy contact, and I think we’re seeing that more and more as the game has gotten faster over the last couple of years.

“I had a few charges, so I was told to bring it back for a bit.

“It sucks because you want to bring that physical presence to every game, but when you’re told to hold back a bit, that’s what you have to do. I want to play every week with the guys.

Storm skipper Jesse Bromwich knows how important it is to have his New Zealand team-mate on the pitch in the final, especially given Melbourne’s unprecedented injury streak in 2022.

“The message was just that we need him on the pitch. We have too many guys so we can’t afford to miss him,” Bromwich said of their talks.

“We like his aggression and the way he approaches the game, but it’s just about being smarter. He’s such a big man so it’s hard to miss players, but the main message is that we we need him as often as possible.

“It was really good to see the big man there for long periods of time. We need him on the pitch for as long as possible because of his size and power, so it was really good to see him. as well.

The man they call ‘Big Nasty’ lived up to that moniker on Thursday night when he was moved to the back before kick-off to cancel out Penrith’s Viliame Kikau and go wild further afield without having to do so much work in the middle. .

It was the first time he had started an NRL game in the back row, but coach Craig Bellamy will have to consider doing it more often given his quality of play.

Asofa-Solomona revealed it was the first time he had played in the second tier since 2014, when he scored 13 tries in 18 games to make the Holden Cup Team of the Year.

“I think he did a really good job,” Bellamy said after the 16-0 victory over the reigning premiers.

“The other advantage is that he doesn’t have to do all the tackles in the middle, so he was able to play longer minutes.”

Originally published as NRL 2022: Storm warning that has Nelson Asofa-Solomona on the straight and narrow

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