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Nelson Asofa-Solomona in huge Dragons twist amid $800,000 Zac Lomax split

The Dragons will free up space in their salary cap for a big signing.

The Dragons have been urged to monitor out-of-favour Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona with $800,000 set to be available in the salary cap when Zac Lomax leaves. Lomax and the Dragons announced the winger could look for a new club in 2025 with the 24-year-old released from his contract.

The club claimed they won't be paying him past 2024 and the move was mutual. Rival NRL clubs will be circling Lomax with the talented, but clearly disgruntled, back seeking a new home with Parramatta favourites to sign him.

The Dragons have been urged to monitor Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona (pictured right) having appeared to fall out-of-favour at the Storm. (Getty Images)
The Dragons have been urged to monitor Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona (pictured right) having appeared to fall out-of-favour at the Storm. (Getty Images)

The move hasn't come without criticism after Maroons coach Billy Slater accused the Dragons of "double standards" in the wake of their decision considering the club's saga with captain Ben Hunt. But Dragons fans are optimistic coach Shane Flanagan will be able to use that extra cash in the salary cap for a blockbuster signing. And former Roosters star Braith Anasta posed the question on NRL 360 if the Dragons should look to bolster their forward pack.

And the name at the top of the list was Asofa-Solomona. The bulldozing Storm front-rower has not played a game in 2024 with the panel suggesting coach Craig Bellamy was not happy with something about the veteran's pre-season performance.

“I just don’t think they’re happy with the way they returned the pre-season,” reporter Brent Read said on the show. “I don’t think Craig was happy with his fitness last year and his weight last year. I think he hasn’t improved this pre-season.” There have been questions over whether Asofa-Solomona should be considering his options elsewhere and the Dragons could be a tempting option.

Zac Lomax (pictured) with the ball for the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Zac Lomax (pictured) will leave the St George Illawarra Dragons at the end of the year. (Jeremy Ng via Getty Images)

While there is no suggestion the Storm want to let the forward leave, reporter Dave Riccio suggested the Dragons might want to be careful taking on a player if the Storm willingly let him go. "I think it would be a stack of footy clubs really keen to have a big, powerful man like Nelson Asofa-Solomona in your front row,” Riccio said.

“But with that comes a trepidation on, why is the Melbourne Storm letting him go? And then footy clubs start to baulk at that. Buying a Storm discard always comes with a little bit of uncertainty from rival clubs.” Regardless, Anasta suggested Asofa-Solomona would be sought after by a number of clubs if he made it clear he wanted to leave the Storm.

Dragons seek potential Zac Lomax replacement

Lomax has endured a tough time nailing down a specific role at the Dragons across the last two seasons. Former coach Anthony Griffin shifted him to the left side early last year. He was then dropped from the side for a short while, before making a return.

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Lomax came back at right centre last year after Griffin left the club, but new coach Flanagan then asked him to play left wing to start this season. While there was a small chance he was going to play fullback, Flanagan opted to keep Tyrell Sloan there, which has seen the No.1 thrive in 2024. And with his departure, the Dragons could also be looking for a like-for-like winger.

One possible replacement for Lomax is Penrith winger Sunia Turuva. The Dally M Rookie of the Year could be at the top of that list after putting himself on the open market after negotiations with the Panthers over a new deal fell short of his expectations. The Panthers reportedly presented Turuva with a $350,000 per-season deal. The winger is understood to have wanted to stay at the foot of the mountain but is willing to listen to offers from rival clubs.