Nelson Asofa-Solomona arrives at Melbourne Airport. Picture: 7 News
Nelson Asofa-Solomona arrives at Melbourne Airport. Picture: 7 News

Gashed face pic supports Asofa-Solomona's Bali defence

NEW Zealand will await a NRL Integrity Unit investigation into Nelson Asofa-Solomona before a making a call on the Melbourne prop's Test availability.

Asofa-Solomona landed back in Australia on Monday from Bali and met Storm officials hours later over an alleged end-of-season incident in the holiday spot.

The club has since passed that information on to the integrity unit, with the Storm refusing to state its position until investigations are completed.

It came after footage emerged on Sunday night of a man resembling the hulking forward throwing numerous punches in a brawl outside a Bali restaurant and bar. The incident can be seen spilling on to the street, as bystanders attempted to pull it apart.

Before Monday's meeting, Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he believed Asofa-Solomona had been provoked and was standing up for Melbourne teammate Suliasi Vunivalu, who is thought to have been king hit.

A photo of Vunivalu's gashed face that's emerged appears to support Bellamy's version of events.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona is in there somewhere.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona is in there somewhere.

The Daily Telegraph reports Asofa-Solomona is facing a two-game international ban that would rule him out of the Kiwis' Tests against Australia on Friday week in Wollongong and England in New Zealand on November 9.

"We'll leave it with the integrity unit," Kiwis coach Michael Maguire said.

"That's what it's there for. That's all we can say at the moment. No doubt, we will have conversations and look after that in due time.

"I'm not going to assume anything. They'll make sure they are thorough in what they go through. I'm sure the integrity unit will do that."

Asofa-Solomona told the Seven Network in Melbourne he had his own story to tell over the incident.

Bellamy also insisted he wouldn't have expected Asofa-Solomona to act in that way unless he was provoked or standing up for a teammate.

"He's not a guy who goes looking for trouble," Bellamy told The Daily Telegraph. "He's never been in trouble for anything physical that I'm aware of.

"It's disappointing but, as far as we know, Suli (Vunivalu) copped the king hit and Nelson has reacted. That's all we know until we actually talk to him this afternoon."

No charges are believed to have been laid over the incident, which was sparked, according to an eyewitness report given to the Sydney Morning Herald, when one of the Storm players spilt a drink over a balcony at the La Favela club in Seminyak.

"The Aussie blokes downstairs rushed up and surrounded Vunivalu," the anonymous source said. "Then they king-hit him. You can imagine what the Storm blokes did next.

"When it erupted, the bouncers threw them all out and they were out on the street. They were all out the front and that's when the big fella (Asofa-Solomona) saw one of the blokes with a bottle in his hand. He was going to glass him (Vunivalu) - so he got in first."

If Asofa-Solomona, 23, is suspended, it will be a huge blow for the Kiwis, who are already without injured forwards Jesse Bromwich and James Fisher-Harris.

Asofa-Solomona, who has played just five Tests, would have been a guaranteed starter, with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Leeson Ah Mau, Braden Hamlin-Uele and Isaac Liu the other middles in their 19-man squad.

New Zealand have typically taken a hard-line stance on player behaviour, having previously taken the captaincy off Bromwich and suspended him and Kevin Proctor over a drugs scandal.

Asked if he was disappointed after seeing the video, Maguire said: "Unless you know what's happened, I don't think it's fair you make comment.

"Everyone has seen it and, no doubt, I'm sure when everyone has calmed down, there will be disappointment there. But you've got to understand the circumstances."

The incident comes after the NRL's off-season from hell last summer, which prompted the game to introduce the no-fault stand-down policy for players charged with serious offences.

Suliasi Vunivalu was assaulted in Bali.
Suliasi Vunivalu was assaulted in Bali.