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Molo Junior

denis preston

First Grade
Messages
7,111
Good luck to Michael, he deserves his chance and I hope he solves some forward issues we have at present.

THE EXTRA MOTIVATION DRIVING QLD CUP HERO MICHAEL MOLO AT ST.GEORGE ILLAWARRA
Liam O'Loughlin
nospam47.com
He's the grand final hero from last year's Queensland Cup grand final - but Dragons recruit Michael Molo knows he still has plenty to work on.
The 24-year-old has signed on with the Red V on a training contract, but having already impressed club officials since joining for pre-season, is considered a good chance of earning a full-time deal.
Molo has a few years of reserve grade experience to his name with Norths Devils, but admitted the step up to full-time first grade training has been a shock to the system.
“It’s been pretty tough – a lot of running and a lot more running than I’m used to," he told Sporting News.
"It’s pretty tough on the legs and the body, but it is what it is – you’ve got to go a bit harder, it is NRL level. You’ve got to take your medicine and do what they tell you to do.
"I’m loving it so far, we’ve got lots of experience in our team and I’m just learning as much as I can from a few of the older boys.
“There’s a lot of experience in the forwards – I’m fitting in pretty well I think. We all ask each other what areas we can improve on, and some boys tip me off if I need to improve.
"The boys have been really helpful, and I’m lucky enough to be training with them and get as much as I can from them and soak it all in.
“I’m living in Shell Cove, it’s a 20-minute drive from where we train at the stadium. I’m loving Wollongong, there’s a lot more beaches than I’m used to and the water is pretty good. I try to go to the beach every time I’ve got some time off and try get a tan.
"I’m loving the lifestyle here – in Brisbane, I was staying in the inner-city so it’s a bit of a change, but it’s a good change for me.
"I’ve obviously got my older brother down here, he has been helping me out a lot and I’m just living with him at the moment."
Molo is coming off a career-best year in Q-Cup, averaging close to 120 metres and 23 tackles per game for the premiers.
The front-rower also crossed for 4 tries in 2021, but there's no doubting his most important came with less than 10 minutes remaining in the grand final against Wynnum-Manly.
After some Harlem Globetrotter-style play from his Devils teammates, Molo was able to scrape up the ball and dive over the line to score, securing the victory for his side and lifting the trophy moments later.
“It was a bit of a blur," he said.
"I’ve always practiced pushing up on the inside for that exact reason and what happened, I always push up just in case something like that happens.
"I think it just became muscle memory, and luckily enough the boys in the outside backs had enough skill to offload and get a little kick in, and I was lucky enough to be there. Pushing up on the inside paid off in the end, and what a moment.
"My phone...I kept getting tagged in stuff for two weeks, everyone kept tagging me in the try, and I had to put it on flight mode for a day – it was good at the start, but I started getting annoyed.
“It went pretty fast and it was pretty surreal after we won. Looking back on it, I wish I got to enjoy it more, but obviously there was a lot going on for me personally.
"For the club, it was their first premiership in ages. We had our awards night a couple of days later or the next weekend, so all us boys got to catch up then and we still couldn’t believe we won the premiership the weekend before.
"For me, it felt like everything went pretty fast and my phone was still blowing up two weeks after. Being lucky enough to score the winning try and I thought I had a pretty good year. We were all pretty buzzed that week."
Molo's performances in the Q-Cup competition last season caught the eye of St George Illawarra officials including head coach Anthony Griffin, who is rebuilding the club's roster after far too many lean seasons.
Griffin has been impressed with his work in pre-season training, and with a couple of NRL trials now under his belt, the opportunity is there for Molo to cement his spot in the Dragons' squad.
“My goal at the start of the year was to be consistent with my performances – I was consistent the first half of the year, and I set another goal to keep improving each game," he said.
"I kept improving and when we made the finals, I told myself I would try to be the best player I can be for my team and do all the little things right. I put my best foot forward at every opportunity and was lucky enough that we came away with the win.
“I had a talk to Hook...he’s really happy with where I am. I have to keep doing what I’m doing, keep my head down and try not to get ahead of myself and learn as much as I can and have confidence in my ability.
"He kind of said that he wouldn’t bring me here just to make up the numbers, he brought me down here for a reason. He has confidence in me and I want to repay that faith back to him and the club for giving me that opportunity and definitely going to make the most of it.
"I’m looking forward to the year that’s to come – my body is feeling the best I have felt in years. I feel like I have got more in me to offer in the NRL and I’m really ready to take that next step when the time comes.
“He has said some little things – the way the game is, the speed is much faster than Q-Cup, so I have to get used to the speed of the play-the-ball.
"He wants me to get used to the speed, but he has confidence in my ability and I am trying to learn as much as I can."
If you hadn't caught on just yet, Michael isn't the only Molo at the Dragons for 2022 - his older brother Francis has signed a long-term deal with the club, after a fantastic 2021 saw him make his State of Origin debut for the Maroons.
When asked about the potential of running out alongside his brother this season, Michael couldn't hide his excitement and admitted it would be a dream come true.
“It would be a proud moment for myself and my family," he said.
"From playing backyard footy when we were little kids, we didn’t grow up in a rich neighbourhood, so it would be good to come from where we have come from and make it to the big stage and run out on the field together.
"I would still feel like I’d be in a dream at the start, and it would be a proud moment at the start for how far we have come.
"Definitely, that is one of the goals I want to achieve this year."
Molo has the luxury of learning off not only his older brother, but a host of other experienced representative forwards at the Dragons.
Jack de Belin, Aaron Woods, Josh McGuire, Tariq Sims and Jaydn Su'A have all been involved in Origin throughout their careers, and they are already passing down their knowledge to rookies such as Molo.
“Aaron Woods and Jack de Belin are good blokes on and off the field," he said.
"They help you out, they are good to chat with off the field and anything you need – even if you need a lift home from training. They’ve been helping me out a lot.
"My older brother has been good too, he’s been giving me tips. He has been a couple of years in first grade, so he has been telling me what to do and how to prepare myself right.
"Those boys have been a big help."
Molo is clearly a student of the game, and the prop is taking it all in his stride as he continues his journey towards the NRL.
When quizzed on some players he'd like to model his game off, it was clear that Molo is a player who does his homework and wants to bring a point of difference on both sides of the ball.
“There’s a lot of forwards, and personally I like playing with skill," he said.
"I like the ball-playing forwards like Wade Graham, and I used to like Sam Burgess when he was playing. I liked his aggression and he left his heart out on the field.
"I’m a bit of a mix, I like mixing my game up a bit and playing eyes-up footy. I liked Corey Parker when he was playing and his ability to offload, I like Jason Taumalolo and the way he runs.
"I don’t have one in particular, but I try to get as much as I can from each and every one of their games, and try to put it into my game."
Molo has some huge footsteps to follow in considering his last name and what his brother Francis has achieved in recent years, but there's no rush for a player of his age and ability.
Ever the team man, Molo is more focused on the group that the Dragons have at their disposal, and wants to be a part of a resurgent Red V outfit that are hoping to return to finals footy in 2022.
“In the next few months, I want to keep doing what I’m doing with training – I’ve had a good pre-season so far, so I want to lead that into the trial games and put my best foot forward," he said.
"I want to play a couple of NRL games, if not as much as I can and hopefully become a regular NRL player.
"We have a pretty good squad this year, so I believe we have the team to be in the top-four or top-eight. I want to focus on the year ahead and hopefully we have a good year."
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