Nelson Asofa-Solomona in full flight. Picture: Getty
Nelson Asofa-Solomona in full flight. Picture: Getty

Asofa-Solomona’s 28-hour tattoo ordeal

A giant man with a high threshold for pain.

For a tattoo artist, that is a nightmare scenario.

But "Big Nasty" Nelson Asofa-Solomona is only just getting started.

"I've got a lot more skin left," the Melbourne Storm enforcer grinned.

The 200cm, 115kg New Zealand-born prop inked more than a four-year contract extension in the off-season.

He delivered on a longstanding desire to display his Samoan bloodline.

Asofa-Solomona sat like a rock for 33 hours as entrusted artist Oti, of Uso Tatau, painstakingly went to work on the prop's right leg.

The intricate design took 28 hours to complete - in two marathon 14-hour sessions.

The time it takes to fly to Los Angeles and back basically. Alternatively, four return trips to New Zealand.

"I tried my best not to (shed a tear) but I was definitely biting the pillow," Asofa-Solomona said.

"It definitely wasn't the best pain I've had … but I really wanted to have something that represents my family and my name.

"It helped me get through the pre-season, definitely, when I was going through tough times I looked down and it got me through."

 

Nelson Asofa-Solomona spinning the Steeden at training. Picture: Getty
Nelson Asofa-Solomona spinning the Steeden at training. Picture: Getty

 

The eye-catching design is symmetrical made up mainly of straight lines and larger blocks of dark cover.

The forearm sleeve was a breeze, in comparison, at just five hours.

Asofa-Solomona, who already had ink done on his stomach, back and next to each eye, commissioned Oti after finding Uso Tatau on Instagram.

"I love art … and really love the artwork people have on their bodies and it's something I really want to do on my body," Asofa-Solomona said.

"I want to get a few more on me. I'm not too sure what I will be doing tattoo wise but I've got a lot more skin left.

"I'm just doing my whole body really, I don't really care, it is (only) skin."

The pair went to work last summer with Oti bringing Asofa-Solomona's design to life.

But not before two sleepless nights which Oti admitted took both a mental and physical toll.

"He sat really well," Oti said.

"It was pretty much me that tapped out on him, otherwise I reckon he would have been able to go the whole way.

"He's one of the biggest (men) and definitely longest sessions I've had the pleasure of working on."

Nelson Asofa-Solomona spent more than 28 hours in the tattoo artist's chair.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona spent more than 28 hours in the tattoo artist's chair.

On the field, it is more of the same.

Asofa-Solomona is only just getting started.

The 23 year-old, contracted until the end of 2023, is only now entering the prime of his career.

A scary proposition for anyone game - or silly - enough to stand in front of a human freight train.

Fifth-season prop Asofa-Solomona, who boasts incredibly slick hands and speed for a man that size, is already a premiership winner and Kiwi international after just 77 NRL games.

The 2017 Anzac medallist, particularly dangerous close to the try line, franked his big-game credentials last year with man-of-the-match honours in the World Club Challenge.

Asofa-Solomona will partner Storm pack leader Jesse Bromwich in Thursday night's NRL season-opener against Brisbane Broncos, with Christian Welch and Fijian Tui Kamikamica on the bench.

"It's really good that our middle hasn't changed too much but we still got a lot of young forwards coming through," Asofa-Solomona said.

"We lost Tim Glasby (to Newcastle), which he brought a lot of experience and good defensive work (but) Tui's doing a great job.

"He's a workhorse and works really hard on defence, ball work and attack.

"I'm sure he'll get a good crack this year and hopefully grabs that opportunity with both hands because we got a lot of young players coming through."