Cameron Smith talks up powerhouse teammate
MELBOURNE Storm captain Cameron Smith says Spirit of Anzac medallist Nelson Asofa-Solomona could be one of the NRL's best players if he wanted to.
Asofa-Solomona, 21, propelled the Storm to a 20-14 victory over New Zealand Warriors on Tuesday night thanks to a brutal power game.
He crashed through the Warriors line for Storm's opening try and had a hand in a couple more with formidable runs.
Asofa-Solomona must match his talent with consistency. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
"Nelson has got so much ability it is really not funny, he could be anything if he wanted to,” Smith said.
"He's probably had (Anzac Day) circled for a while (and) he wanted to put in a big performance, but you want to be an elite player and you want to be one of the best elite players in the comp you've got to do that every week.”
Asofa-Solomona remains off-contract but Storm is extremely confident of keeping the 200cm, 115kg prop despite interest from rivals including the Warriors, Cronulla and Manly.
Asofa-Solomona echoed the skipper after his breakout game and admitted to not always doing the little things right.
"For me (and a lot of the boys) it's You versus You,” Asofa-Solomona said. "I feel like I'm my biggest opponent and that's eating-wise.”
Asofa-Solomona said he used the extended break leading into the Anzac Day blockbuster to ”experiment” with his preparation.
"I found something that worked for me this week and I stuck to it and got away with the result,” Asofa-Solomona said.
"I struggle with my weight (last couple of years) so just ate well, hydrated and slept well - just done all the one percenters that Craig (Bellamy) is about.
"For me it's just being consistent now, Melbourne Storm is based on hard work and consistency and having my good performance (on Anzac Day) is great but playing well for the rest of the season will be even better.”
The departure of Jordan McLean next season opens the door for the New Zealand-born giant with Samoan and Irish heritage to step into a starting role.
Asofa-Solomona played down any comparisons to code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams who gives the Storm powerhouse 6cm in height and 7kg in weight.
"I just want to be Nelson and leave the legacy I want to leave for myself,” he said. "Sonny Bill is a great player and I have a lot of respect for him and what he has done in the game.”