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Melissa Woods

Storm's Asofa-Solomona a giant threat out wide: Hughes

Storm giant Nelson Asofa-Solomona (c) will pose a big threat to Penrith's defence out wide. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Jahrome Hughes says giant Melbourne teammate Nelson Asofa-Solomona has a spring in his step after shifting to the back-row.

The New Zealand Test prop will line up against NRL defending champions Penrith at Marvel Stadium on Friday night in the No.12 jersey, shifting there to replace the injured Eliesa Katoa.

Asofa-Solomona had his first start out wide last week in the Storm's win over Manly and relished the extra space.

He ran for 147 metres from 14 runs and showed his footwork en route to a try in the 24-6 victory.

Katoa underwent eye surgery and is likely to be sidelined for at least the next month, meaning Asofa-Solomona is set to continue in his new role, which pleases halfback Hughes.

"Nelson has been good for us as a team and he's been good for myself, having him on my edge," Hughes said.

"He does look a bit livelier out on the edge - he's a big boy and I would hate to play against him.

"He does a lot for us because he can scatter people and get quick play the balls and he's got skills so can offload and he can move well for a big boy as well."

Tied on competition points, the winner of Friday night's clash under the roof at Marvel could be standalone leader at the end of the round.

Hughes said building consistency as well as wins was important for his team.

"We're trying to put good performances together in a row, that's our main focus that we've been trying to do and we haven't been able to do it," the 28-year-old said.

"The last couple of weeks have probably been our most consistent run of games and we've had some pretty good wins over quality teams but we're going to have to go up another notch against the best team."

Superstar Nathan Cleary remains sidelined with a hamstring injury leaving Hughes to go head to head with his replacement Jack Cogger.

Hughes said the Panthers hadn't skipped a beat without their playmaker.

"They're still a great team across the board," he said.

"We know how good Nath is but Jack Cogger has come in and done a great job the last couple of weeks.

"They're still the best team in the comp and still top of the table, so we need to be on our game to compete against them."

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