Nelson Asofa-Solomona has signed a four-year extension. Picture: Getty
Nelson Asofa-Solomona has signed a four-year extension. Picture: Getty

Gentle giant inks monster Storm extension

MAN mountain Nelson Asofa-Solomona has re-signed at Melbourne Storm until the end of 2023.

The Herald Sun can reveal the powerhouse prop, already contracted next season, has finalised a four-year extension this week. His commitment thwarts the potential for any poaching raids for the hulking Kiwis international.

The loyal-to-the-core 22 year-old Asofa-Solomona has settled in brilliantly since moving to Melbourne as a schoolboy, working closely with Storm assistant coach Jason Ryles and player welfare guru, former All Black, Andy Blowers.

Asofa-Solomona's parents also relocated to Melbourne last year to further settle the mild-mannered 201cm, 115kg giant affectionately nicknamed 'Big Nasty'.

Asofa-Solomona will ultimately succeed compatriot Jesse Bromwich, 29, as the forward pack leader.

The emerging enforcer's quick decision allows the Storm to focus on retaining playmaker Cameron Munster and record-breaker Cameron Smith. A one-year extension for Smith looms large, with the club and captain's camp poised to put pen to paper.

A long-term contact for 2019 free agent Munster will also be brokered in coming weeks.

Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy said the club is well-placed to retain all three players.

"I think we'd like Cameron's (Munster) future resolved sooner rather than later," Donaghy said.

"No secret around that, I still stand by the view this is the best place for him to play his footy.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona was one of Melbourne’s best in 2018. Picture: Getty
Nelson Asofa-Solomona was one of Melbourne’s best in 2018. Picture: Getty
 

"There's a strong lucrative offer on the table and we'd love for him to stay long term."

Donaghy also remained upbeat about Smith's future and getting the deal done. The NRL games record holder has been coy about his future recently.

"I think when it comes to things like this that (Smith contract) they're better off done behind closed doors (and) to our timeline rather than others'... I'm really comfortable with where it's at and I'm really confident that we'll see Cameron run around again next year," Donaghy said.

"On Smith, between him, myself, his management, we're all very comfortable with where it's at and I think everyone else should be too."

Nelson Asofa-Solomona has signed a four-year extension. Picture: Getty
Nelson Asofa-Solomona has signed a four-year extension. Picture: Getty

Smith stopped short of being coaxed into committing to next season on stage at the club's Player of the Year gala on Wednesday night.

"At the moment I'm unemployed next year," a jovial Smith said between the cheers of the Storm faithful.

"There's been a bit of talk over the last couple of weeks about retirement - that was just a question posed to me if we were to win, and we didn't.

"There's do doubt I'm keen to play on. The situation at the moment is that club and my management are working through it and everything looks really positive.

"I might just give my management the heads up to drag it out until February so I don't have to do pre-season and I'll just come back a few weeks before the first game.

 

The Storm are confident of sign Cameron Smith on a one-year deal. Picture: Michael Klein
The Storm are confident of sign Cameron Smith on a one-year deal. Picture: Michael Klein

 

"I'm keen to play on and hopefully that's all sorted soon."

Meanwhile, the Storm has re-signed Sandor Earl to another one-year contract after a knee reconstruction wrecked the winger's comeback season.

Earl, who served four years in the NRL wilderness, came within a whisker of making a shock Storm debut this season despite the cruel injury setback.

But the Storm looks set to lose halfback Ryley Jacks, unable to guarantee the playmaker regular first-grade minutes next season with Brodie Croft and Jahrome Hughes the preferred options.

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