Storm set to welcome back Kiwis star Nelson Asofa-Solomona for NRL semi-final

Melbourne are set to have one giant inclusion - figuratively and literally - for their NRL preliminary final with Nelson Asofa-Solomona primed to return from injury.

Nicknamed "Big Nasty", Asofa-Solomona, who stands 200cm and 115 kilograms has missed their past three games with an ankle injury.

But Storm forwards coach Jason Ryles said the Kiwi Test prop was ready for their AAMI Park match on Friday week when they will take on the winner of the Penrith- Cronulla semi-final.

"Nelson is tracking really well and if we had a game this weekend he'd be fine to play," Ryles said on Thursday.

"That's a real positive for us because we can get some more work into him this week and he can be 100 per cent confident that his ankle is going to be fine."

Ryles said the one-point win over South Sydney in the qualifying final had taken a toll on the Storm, given the brutal physicality of the match.

So to be able to inject 22-year-old Asofa-Solomona, who this week was voted in the Rugby League Players' Association Dream Team, was a massive bonus.

"It goes without saying that he's a huge in for any team," said Ryles, who played 15 Tests for Australia.

"He's big and powerful and I think he's improved game by game this year.

"There was a bit of a void left by the departure of Jordan McLean last year and I think he's certainly taken that opportunity with both hands this year."

Ryles said the Rabbitohs match was a new bench-mark for the Storm forward pack, getting the better of the Burgess brothers among others.

"After we were challenged the last time we played I think it was a good response.

"The boys are happy with where they're at although they know there's bigger challenges down the track."

That includes either the Panthers or Sharks, who both boast formidable line-ups.

"The Penrith forward pack really provide the energy for their team and the Sharks forward pack just don't get intimidated," Ryles said.

"Whoever we play, we haven't beaten this year and that's a simple fact so we've got a lot of work to do."

Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
Melbourne Storm v Vodafone Warriors during the Anzac Day round 8 match in the 2018 NRL season at AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia. 25 April 2018. © Copyright photo:
Melbourne Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona in action against the Warriors. Source: Photosport

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