Asofa-Solomona avoids NRL ban
NELSON Asofa-Solomona will be free to play in the Melbourne Storm's season-opener next year after the club and the NRL Integrity Unit concluded their separate investigations into an alleged street fight outside a Bali nightclub last weekend.
An official announcement on possible sanctions will be made on Friday afternoon. But Asofa-Solomona will be eligible for selection in round one of the NRL season.
Vision of Asofa-Solomona emerged last Sunday evening of the premiership prop going after a man with a series of wild punches on the footpath outside Seminyak hotspot La Favela.
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Asofa-Solomona's reaction followed a prior incident in the club, where teammate Suliasi Vunivalu was victim of a coward punch.
Both the Storm and NRL Integrity conducted a series of interviews this week, speaking to Storm players and witnesses about the explosive incident.
Asofa-Solomona maintained throughout the process he merely defended and protected Vunivalu.
Vunivalu has since discussed the incident, revealing things could have turned fatal if Asofa-Solomona didn't step in.
Vunivalu said he "blacked out" and had "no idea" what happened before he was told he was punched to the head at least twice during the end of season trip.
"I didn't see it coming. I was lucky I didn't fall and hit my head because people would have been visiting in a coma from my hospital bed," Vunivalu said.
"The scariest bit was being punched and having no idea it happened. I would've defended myself and tried to dodge the punch but I didn't have time. It was out of the blue that I got punched."
It is unclear whether Asofa-Solomona will be fined and/or suit up for New Zealand's upcoming Tests against Australia and Great Britain.
It has been mooted this week the Storm and Kiwi enforcer would be suspended for the internationals.
Asofa-Solomona has found support from all corners of the rugby league playing group. NRL star Andrew Fifita leapt to the Storm forward's defence, telling News Corp "I've been in those situations too. But for me, loyalty is a big thing. And I would never leave my mate alone."