If the Melbourne Storm beat the Brisbane Broncos on Friday night they’ll become the 2016 NRL minor premiers.

While this isn’t an achievement the Storm themselves have been gunning for, its one they’ll be proud of nonetheless, and one they’ve deserved.

After injuries shook the Storm’s depth early on in the season, role players like Cheyse Blair, Kenny Bromwich and Tim Glasby have stepped up their games this season and become integral parts of this league leading side.

Two young players stand out amongst that group however, Suliasi Vunivalu and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

The two have been fantastic for Melbourne this season for different reasons, although Asofa-Solomona’s contract runs out at the end of 2016, and Vunivalu only has a year to go on his.

With both players under a contract cloud over the next 12 month period it could be unlikely that the Storm get to keep both players.

So on the basis that only one of the two players can sign another contract in Melbourne, we’re asking fans, which one would you keep?

A case for Suliasi Vunivalu

Tries.

The Fijian winger knows exactly where the try line is, and he’s not afraid to find it more than once a game.

Vunivalu opened his career with doubles against the Tigers, Warriors and Titans to become the first player to score doubles in their first three NRL games.

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The 20-year-old has added three hat-tricks to his name – including his four-try first-half against Manly last weekend – and has scored in nine of his 16 games this season.

Suliasi Vunivalu of the Storm slides in for a try during the round eight NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park on April 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.
Suliasi Vunivalu of the Storm slides in for a try during the round eight NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park on April 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.

He leads the league in tries with 21, and is currently equal with Israel Folau’s rookie record set back in 2007, although it’s likely Vunivalu will break it before season’s end.

Vunivalu’s speed, agility and leap make him such a difficult player to stop, and his ability to get to the line despite contact from defenders makes him a threat each time he picks up the ball.

Despite not recording one assist all season, Vunivalu’s tally of 21 tries is a phenomenal achievement, and he’s been one of the shining lights in a team already filled with bright stars.

 

A case for Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Size.

It’s not often you get a 200cm, 115 kg player that can keep up with the rigors of an NRL game week in week out, and to get one with the speed and agility that Asofa-Solomona has is almost impossible.

Asofa-Solomona made his debut last season and played 12 games for the Storm, and has continued working hard this season to become a vital impact player off the bench.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Nelson Asofa-Solomona of the Storm is tackled during the round eight NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park on April 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 25: Nelson Asofa-Solomona of the Storm is tackled during the round eight NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park on April 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

The imposing Kiwi has made 13 appearances during an injury interrupted 2016 campaign, and averages an impressive 87 running metres per game in just 28 minutes of action, probably due to the opposition generally needing at least four players to bring the 20-year-old to his knees.

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His ability to gain metres and impact the game positively is something the Storm cherish, and his try assist for Cooper Cronk against Penrith in Round 13 was a sight to behold.

He’s just returned from injury over the past two weeks, but if big NAS can get his body right come the September, he could one of the most influential bench players over the course of the finals series.

 

Who we would keep

It’s a tough decision. Both players deserve new contracts and both players will get them, but for this exercise only one will stay in Melbourne.

In a battle of tries vs size, we believe that despite Vunivalu’s freakish try-scoring ability, Asofa-Solomona’s sheer size, strength, speed and agility makes him an invaluable player for years to come.

 

We choose Nelson Asofa-Solomona, who would you choose?

29 COMMENTS

  1. Better question might be would it be easier to find another athletic winger with great finishing ability or another forward with the best combination of size, speed and strength since Taumalolo. I’d take NAS for sure. In a few years he will become a freak of nature.

  2. They should start by wiping that Phlegm of a club out of the Comp.
    Bring in another QLD team where people actually care about LEAGUE!!! Not like those tree hugging, scarf wearing Hippies in the Ahole of OZ

    • Stimo, why do you have to switch every argument around to Cronulla ? We are talking about two storm players here not that “Phlegm of a club” Cronulla.

    • Ah, that’d be 6 years in a row – voted WORLD’S MOST LIVEABLE CITY. Add to that, Sporting Capital of The World. What a dill you are. Get back inside your fibro shack, peasant.

  3. They will both stay in Melbourne, belly will move all the off contact players on to keep these two quality players, sign some younger cheap players with potential to fill holes ,billy Slater will retire as well Green ,Koroibete and Morgan moving on as well We will keep the both

    • I agree, Koriobete is going and who knows what other end of season changes will occur. Very silly supposition in this article as neither one of them needs to go anywhere.

  4. I have been saying that Saints should sign Asofa-Solomona for a couple of months now. He would definitely be a starting prop if we could sign him.

  5. Nas all the way. Suli is a great finisher, but Nas is still matic. Plus he has too much ether for Suli, and all he needs is one mic.

  6. Id keep nelson if I was storm, reasoning is storm just signed addo-Carr who will be a beast for them and beat him for position anyway

  7. 1. Munster
    2. Vunivalu
    3. Blair
    4. Chambers
    5. Addo-Carr
    6. Green
    7. Crook
    8. J Bromwich
    9. Smith
    10. Glasby
    11. Proctor
    12. Harris
    13. Finucane

    14. Hampton
    15. Nelson AS
    16. Kaufusi
    17. K Bromwich

    18. Scott/Kennar/Tonampiea
    19. Welch

    Storm could don’t with young Reserve half, and a few forwards. With Slater to retire and Koroibete leaving should easy retain all the young talent and get more. I’d suggest Marshall reserve half or Mason Lino if you want cheap option. Forwards I’d suggest Brent on Lawrence, Abraham Pappali, and Vilamane Kikau

    • I just forgot Jordan Maclean. I’d have him on bench for Kaufusi and Kaufusi drops to 19 with Welch as back up forward.

  8. I think it will be this
    1 Munster
    2 Vinivalu
    3 Chambers
    4 Scott
    5 AddoCarr
    6 Croft or Nikorima if we sign him
    7 Cronk backups Hampton/ Drinkwater
    8 Bromwich
    9 Smith
    10 Asofa-Solomona
    11 Proctor
    12 Harris
    13 Finucane

    14 K Bromwich if a another team don’t snap him up
    15 Kaufusi
    16 Welch
    17 Hampton
    Backup centres wingers Tonampiea ,Blair, Kennar
    Backup Forwards Britt,

  9. Backup forwards
    Leuluai,Tualau,Britt,Stimson
    McLean will be at the Cowboys next season could be a good swap for Hannant

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