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Footy legend says NRL could risk legal RAMP if it doesn’t crack down on ‘terrible’ foul play – as Stormkeeper gets punished for shocking elbow strike that won’t even get him banned
- Nelson Asofa-Solomona under fire for dirty deeds against the Roosters
- The storm keeper escaped suspension because of an elbow to the head of Joseph Suaalii
- He is a repeat offender, who has been charged 18 times in his seven-year career
- Panthers legend Martin Lang has criticized the NRL for failing to take tougher action
Storm firebrand Nelson Asofa-Solomona has been branded ‘the worst cheap merchant in rugby league’ as the footy world erupts over yet another series of deliberate foul play in Melbourne’s loss to the Roosters on Friday night.
The two-time premiership winner was fined $3,000 by the NRL for hitting a defenseless Joseph Suaalii with his elbow – an act that was not even noticed or punished during the match.
He also seemed to slip in on his knees and collect Joey Manu in the head – and again he got no action on the pitch or from the match judging committee.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona celebrates with the Provan-Summons Trophy after winning the 2017 Grand Final with the Melbourne Storm
It led prominent rugby league pundit Phil Rothfield to brand Asofa-Solomona as the ‘worst cheap shot dealer in rugby league’ in the Daily Telegram.
“However, there are no defensive players like Asofa-Solomona or his teammate and another repeat offender, Felise Kaufusi,” Rothfield wrote.
“They should be swept out of the game with long bans the next time they get out of line. Long suspensions are the most powerful deterrent to foul play and will lead to behavioral change.”
Social media collapsed, blaming the repeat offender for the dirty deeds.
The leader of the attack had become Martin Lang, former Panthers prime minister and neuroscientist, who called Asofa-Solomona’s elbow against Suaalii’s head “outrageous.”
The 176-match legend criticized the NRL for its passivity and begged the league to do something before it was too late.
“About 90 percent of the concussions I’ve had in my career were the result of foul play,” Lang said.
“The penalties I got for foul play during my career were insufficient. It cannot go on or the NRL risks large-scale lawsuits.’
Nelson Asofa-Solomona has made 162 appearances for the Melbourne Storm and has been charged 18 times by the NRL’s Match Judging Committee
Former NRL supporter Darcy Lussick also chimed in on Lang’s post, beating the Melbourne forward for his history of cheap acts.
‘Always do this with the little boys and when someone like YWH [Roosters player Jared Warea-Hargreaves] goes after him, he drops his ass. Loser,” Lussick noted.
One fan wrote Asofa-Solomona “shouldn’t be allowed to play again this season”, while another said the storm enforcer will face so many fines that the NRL can “build a new judicial facility”.
Others lashed out at him for not being able to cope with what he was dishing up: “Am willing to hand it out to guys half his size, but as soon as Warea-Hargreaves shows up, he lays down like a sook,” wrote a fan.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona (pictured left) with Storm teammates Suliasi Vunivalu (center) and Tui Kamikamica on holiday in Bali after the 2019 season
Friday’s game was far from the first time Asofa-Solomona had run into trouble with the match’s judiciary or been scolded by fans for his ‘cheap shots’.
The Storm star has made 162 appearances for the club since making his debut in 2015 and has been charged a staggering 18 times by the NRL’s Match Judging Committee (including four this season) – but faced just 13 weeks’ worth of suspensions.
Earlier this year, he was fined $1,000 for collecting eel ahead of Makahesi Makatoa on the back of the head with a swinging arm.
Asofa-Solomona wasn’t even fined for an elbow to the face of Warriors star Wade Egan cutting out the hooker’s two front teeth.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s (right) elbow hits the jaw of Warriors player Wade Egan (blue jersey), leaving him with two broken teeth
Asofa-Solomona is pictured hitting Makatoa in the back of the head on Saturday with a swinging arm. The two attackers had been engaged in an ongoing fight beforehand
Asofa-Solomona wasn’t the only Storm player to come under fire for a grimy act against the Roosters, either.
Gun five-eighth Cameron Munster was given a concerning act notice for pushing Hanen halfway into Sam Walker’s face while the young star lay on the floor.
Felise Kaufusi – another repeat offender – also escaped notice for a dangerous-looking hip drop tackle; with both acts provoking the ire of former players, pundits and footy fans.
The chatter is unlikely to disturb the Storm, with the side taking on Parramatta on Thursday night in a crucial clash ahead of yet another finals campaign.