Kiwis NRL star could make code change



Stuff NZ Newspapers


Exiled Melbourne Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona is reportedly set to leave the NRL to play rugby in the Japanese League One competition ahead of the 2023 season. According to Fox Sports, the twotime premiership-winning prop will join the Panasonic Wild Knights, who are coached by former Wallabies mentor Robbie Deans. The 2-metre tall, 130kg has been forced to look elsewhere after being locked out of the Storm because he is unvaccinated, with laws in Victoria stating all players need to be vaccinated. The Storm have tried to contact the 25-year-old over the past few months but haven’t managed to resolve the matter. ‘‘I’m very hopeful ‘NAS’ will come back,’’ Storm captain Jesse Bromwich said last month. ‘‘He’s a powerful man and a big part of our team. ‘‘A lot of us boys care deeply for him and I’ve tried to reach out to him, but I didn’t get anything back. ‘‘I know he’s got his beliefs around vaccination and it’s up to him, but we really want him to come back, so hopefully the matter resolves itself soon.’’ Japan’s law is free of such rules regarding vaccination, which could be a hub for players avoiding vaccination. Asofa-Solomona, was a star in New Zealand rugby as a teenager, playing No8 and second-row for Wellington College. He was one of the hottest prospects in New Zealand before joining the Storm. Rugby Australia are keeping a close eye on his movements and could yet offer him a short-term deal. But it’s understood they will not break the bank to try and sign him for just one season.