http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/nrl/n ... 48ad6b4a75
MELBOURNE Storm captain Cameron Smith has described Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s potential as “frightening” after a barnstorming performance in the World Club Challenge.
The 201cm bull claimed man-of-the-match honours after he obliterated Super League champions Leeds Rhinos in just 39 minutes on the field.
Smith said the penny has dropped for the 21-year-old brute.
“The last week and a half he’s been very impressive in training,” Smith said.
“And today, he looked very keen to get out there and play well.
“I think maybe after last year and including in the World Cup – we didn’t actually play New Zealand but watched a couple of their performances – he was possibly their best player in that tournament.
“I think he may have realised what he can do on the footy field and his capabilities.”
Asofa-Solomona, who starred for New Zealand in an otherwise forgettable World Cup, pummelled the Rhinos at AAMI Park with devastating carries.
He finished with 108 metres in 11 runs and scored a try – assisted by Smith – in the 38-4 Storm stampede.
The young Kiwis prop has worked incredibly hard over the past 12 months on his fitness and preparation after battling with weight early in his career.
But Smith warned the best was yet to come for Asofa-Solomona.
“He’s a big, powerful man,” Smith said.
“I think he’s still got a lot of improvement left in him, which is frightening in some aspects.
“We’re hoping after a strong performance tonight, he takes a lot more confidence from that and takes it into the season proper.”
Asofa-Solomona will lock horns with former premiership teammate Jordan McLean in Friday night’s Smith-Johnathan Thurston testimonial at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona has a big fan in Cameron Smith.
The departure of McLean last year has opened the door for Asofa-Solomona to play extended minutes alongside forward Jesse Bromwich, recruit Sam Kasiano, Tim Glasby and Christian Welch.
Storm 20 Year Dinner