Melbourne Storm striker Nelson Asofa-Solomona wants to “cause chaos” against the Panthers.

Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona has a simple plan for Melbourne’s NRL preliminary final blockbuster against the Panthers: “cause chaos”.

The Storm suffered a “terrible” 26-0 defeat to the Broncos in the first week of the finals, but responded with a hard-fought 18-13 semi-final win over the Roosters, setting up a big clash against Penrith for a place in the grand final the game.

The Storm enforcer is the leader of the Melbourne pack and takes on the challenge of taking on the Panthers’ premiership winners Spencer Leniu and James Fisher-Harris.

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Together, Leniu and Asofa-Solomona are two of the best bench forwards in the NRL, with the way they keep their teams’ momentum going crucial for both the Panthers and Storm.

“I’m just trying to cause chaos,” Asofa-Solomona explained of his role against the Panthers.

“If you look at successful teams, they (Penrith) obviously have a system and you have to stick to that system.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona prepares to “cause chaos” against the Panthers. Credit: Getty Images

“You have to trust the game plan. And that’s why Penrith have done so well all year and that’s why they’re so successful, because they finish well, they get into the corners and then they just suffocate you.

“That’s what we’re trying to do too. But you know, there are times when we take charge in the middle and try to pass the ball quickly and create chaos in the team.

“Then we can pull the trigger. Get down, get back up, pass the ball as fast as you can and then you know if the hookers are coming out or if the guys are flooding the ruck area, getting over the advantage line and just making yards, that’s how you win games.”

Throughout the season, the 27-year-old has been used as both a starting player and a striker off the bench, with Asofa-Solomona happy to play whatever role is required for the team.

“My philosophy is quantity over quantity,” he said.

“So I’m not trying to cut corners, I’m not trying to find ways to play longer. I just try as hard as I can.

“And I think when it comes time to bring in someone else, he (Storm coach Craig Bellamy) will do that. So for me it’s not about staying out as long as possible. It’s about trying to have quality when I’m out there.”

Spencer Leniu will face a big challenge against Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Credit: AAP

“Really big, scary guy.”

Leniu has been training since high school for his preliminary and final fight with Asofa-Solomona.

Watch highlights of the man he still describes as Melbourne’s “really big, scary guy” making mincemeat out of other teenagers in New Zealand schoolboy rugby.

“When I was in high school, I watched Nelson’s high school highlights when he played rugby,” Leniu told AAP.

At the time, Leniu was a rising Panthers junior at Patrician Brothers, Blacktown.

Asofa-Solomona was four years his senior, already a grand final winner in Melbourne and a New Zealand Test representative in rugby league.

“I just thought this guy was obviously a big guy and he moved pretty well for a big guy,” Leniu remembers.

“Just bumping everyone, unloading and so on.

“It was funny because when I got to play him for the first time, I was like, this guy is a lot bigger in person than I thought.”

Leniu will drop 17cm and 5kg to Asofa-Solomona on Friday when the pair face off in the middle of the field at the Accor Stadium.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves got into a fight with Spencer Leniu earlier this season. Credit: Getty Images

But the chunky Penrith prop easily makes up for any difference with his power and ferocity.

Leniu is the most fiery character in the Panthers pack and is known for seeing red in last year’s preliminary final, seething after a high goal from South Sydney’s Taane Milne.

He made headlines again earlier this year when he teamed up with future Sydney Roosters teammate Jared Waerea-Hargreaves in midfield after a water bottle was thrown in his direction.

His battle with Asofa-Solomona this week will be even more important with both coming off the bench after Melbourne opted to play the 27-year-old in the starting XI last week.

Leniu has vowed not to take a step backwards from Asofa-Solomona, even after looking up to the Melbourne giant as a teenager.

“Obviously Nelson is a really big, scary guy,” Leniu said.

“When he comes off the bench, I’m ready for war.

“Because if I don’t do my best and he has more impact than me, then that can change a lot of things and swing a lot of momentum for the team in their favor.

“He will try to make as much of an impact as possible when he comes off the bench. I will do that.

“I think it will be a great spectacle for everyone when we both compete against each other. I look forward to the challenge of a good and beautiful little war.”

With AAP

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James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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