FORMER Townsville Blackhawks forward Francis Molo has been signed by the North Queensland Cowboys on a one year deal.
Molo, who shifted to the Blackhawks this season before the mid-season transfer deadline, regularly trained with the Cowboys and impressed Cowboys officials enough to be handed another NRL opportunity.
Molo, a former Brisbane Broncos player, is the third Blackhawks’ player to earn an NRL contract in the past two years, with Corey Jensen signing last season and Carlin Anderson earning a contract earlier this year.
The Cowboys announced Molo’s signing on social media.
“He took a chance before the June 30 deadline to come up to us, and part of the deal was the Cowboys would give him some training,’ Blackhawks’ operations manager Adrian Thomson said.
“He’s done the right thing and put in the effort, so it’s worked out well.”
Thomson said Molo’s move to Townsville had helped take his career in a new direction.
In 2015 Molo was involved in a tackle that led to the death of Sunshine Coast player James Ackerman, leading to an inquest at Brisbane Coroners Court earlier this year.
He then shifted to Townsville before the transfer deadline and made his Q Cup debut against the Northern Pride in Round 19, going on to play in all of the Blackhawks’ remaining games.
“The main focus for ‘Frank’ was getting away from Brisbane and starting fresh,” Thomson said.
“He left his newborn and partner at home and he missed them badly, and it took him a while to acclimatise up here.
“But he put in the work and it’s a great story; he’s come through a lot of problems and hopefully he’s come out the other side.”
Molo joins Jordan McLean (Storm) and Anderson (Blackhawks) as the latest inclusions in the Cowboys first grade squad, which will also feature Under-20s products Jake Clifford, Emry Pere, Enari Tuala and Mitch Dunn.
Molo will have to try and force his way into a Cowboys’ team that reached the NRL grand final despite suffering a heavy injury toll, with the likes of Scott Bolton, Shaun Fensom and John Asiata stepping up in the absence of Matt Scott.
Scott and McLean are set to be the club’s starting props next season, and the club’s finals’ campaigners are sure to have the frontrunning when it comes spots in the 17, meaning the onus will be on Molo to work his way in.
“There’s a fair bit of competition at the Cowboys, but I think Frank will be in the mix,” Thomson said.
“He’ll work hard and leave no stone unturned, so I’m sure he’ll make the most of the opportunity.
The Cowboys and Blackhawks are expected to begin pre-season training next month.