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Asofa-Solomona a future NRL star: Smith

NZN 26/04/2017 Melissa Woods

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith says hulking Storm NRL forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona can be one of the game's elite players if he puts his mind to it.

The 21-year-old Asofa-Solomona turned in the best performance of his 35-game career to help steer Melbourne to a 20-14 win over the Warriors, and was rewarded with the Spirit of Anzac Medal for best on ground.

Asofa-Solomona showcased his two metre 115kg frame when he took the ball from Smith 10 metres out and dragged three defenders across the try line.

His 45 minute display, which included 26 tackles, could earn him a New Zealand call-up for the May 6 trans-Tasman Test against Australia in Canberra or a World Cup berth with Samoa or even Ireland, qualifying through his grandparents.

Smith said Asofa-Solomona had the ability to be an NRL great.

"Nelson's got so much ability it's not funny - he could be anything that he wanted to be," Smith said.

"The greatest challenge for him is to play the way he did every week and that's what the great players do.

"We've seen some brilliant things from Nels and against the Warriors he was one of the best on the field but he needs to turn up and play that way every week."

Wellington-product Asofa-Solomona says he has long-battled problems with his weight and attributed his improved performance to clean eating through the week, early nights and the "one percenters".

Asofa-Solomona agreed with Smith's thoughts about his consistency and hoped the Warriors performance would be a launch pad for a starting berth next season, with Jordan McLean departing for the Cowboys.

"Having a good performance is great but playing well for the rest of the season is better," Asofa-Solomona said.

"I'm my biggest opponent."

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