Support the key for Maroons debutant Molo | Ralph Lauren

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Francis Molo knows he wouldn’t be preparing for his Queensland State of Origin debut without those who supported him through an on-field tragedy.

Molo was a Brisbane NRL prospect when a shoulder charge on James Ackerman during a Queensland Cup fixture in 2015 led to the death of the Sunshine Coast prop, who suffered a ruptured artery in his neck.

A coroner’s report would later find Molo made no attempt to apply a “legitimate” tackle on the 25-year-old and he was suspended for nine matches.

That ban was nothing however compared to Molo’s own struggles as his career stagnated over the next three years and he contemplated giving up on the game.

“Yeah, I’m not going to lie, I did, but I had a really good support network back then,” Molo said.

“Sometimes I didn’t want to do it for myself but I had the support network.

“I had my little girl, my partner, my family.

“Sometimes I did it for them and they helped me pull me back on my feet to get me going.

“I’ve just been going since then and I’m grateful for it.”

A move away from Brisbane to North Queensland in 2018 re-ignited Molo’s career and the 26-year-old’s efforts were rewarded on Sunday when he received a phone call from Queensland coach Paul Green to tell him he’d be playing Sunday’s must-win game two.

“Just probably paid off, what I’ve done to get back to where I am,” Molo said.

“Definitely feels like a reward but I know I’ve still got a job to do on Sunday and when we get the win it’ll be better.”

The fallout of that tragic moment in 2015 won’t be erased by Sunday’s Origin and Molo says he intends to reach out to the Ackerman family in the future – once he’s comfortable to do so.

“That’s a personal thing for me and I feel like when the time is right for me, I’ll do it.”

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