Rugby news | Nelson Asofa-Solomona explains why he couldn’t leave Melbourne Storm for Wallabies
Nelson Asofa-Solomona had the endorsement of his late father to play for the Wallabies but ultimately said he couldn’t leave the NRL club he calls “home”.
In early April, the Melbourne Storm star revealed he had been approached by Wallabies coach Eddie Jones and Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan to switch codes.
Asofa-Solomona ultimately re-signed to the Storm, which was confirmed after the team’s come-from-behind win over the Warriors during Anzac Round.
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The Wellington-born prop said he seriously considered leaving league for union and long before the formal approach had spoken with his father about a switch.
“I’m very grateful that Eddie (Jones) and Hamish (McLennan) looked at me and I was seriously having a look at rugby,” said Asofa-Solomona.
“I felt like I’ve given a lot to rugby league and I thought I was a good chance to go to rugby.
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“Of course, I’m a very proud Kiwi, but at the end of the day, my mum and dad get the last say in everything I do in my career.
“Before my dad passed away, he said ‘I just want you to be happy, I don’t mind if you play for the Wallabies’.
“At the end of the day, I love the Storm too much – this is my home.”
Asofa-Solomona has played for the Storm since 2015 and will rack up a decade with the club with his new four-year deal.
His debut during Anzac Round eight years ago was also the same match that his father first attended.
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Asofa-Solomona’s father died in January, 2022.
“I know my mum and dad will be pretty happy and I’m really happy to be staying on with the club for another four years,” he added.
“Whenever I come into these games, I think about my old man and everything that he sacrificed for me to get to this very spot.”
Storm head coach Craig Bellamy admitted there was a nervous period where he thought the 27-year-old would leave.
It’s a small win for the NRL as its war with the Wallabies and Super Rugby Pacific for top talent heats up.
“The last four or five days it’s been up and down,” Bellamy said.
“I spoke to the chairman Matt Tripp a couple of times and it was a bit like a rollercoaster; he’s just about ready to sign and 24 hours later it looks like he might be going to rugby.
“There was a lot of interest with rugby union. It’s a great result for our club and a great result for rugby league.”
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