This is the sixth article in a series naming each club’s best team of loyal stalwarts. Not necessarily just those one-club players but those who turned out for the club over a long period and helped build its success and culture.
When you ask a Cowboys fan who their favourite player is, you understandably hear the following names.
Jason Taumalolo, the man they call the Hulk thanks to his colossal frame, strength, power and speed, which is deceptive for a man his size.
New recruit Valentine Holmes, for his blistering speed and x-factor.
Michael Morgan, for his playmaking ability, which put him in the conversation about the game’s best halves only three years ago, as well as his ‘man you want your daughter to bring home’ charm and gentleman-like nature.
Kyle Feldt, for his passion, trademark flying ability in the air and into corners, and of course, his 2015 grand final try.
Perhaps even the young pair Scott Drinkwater and Jake Clifford for how they’ve managed to step up and deliver in the absence of the team’s halfback and captain Michael Morgan.
While each of these names and more are important to the Townsville side, there is one very seldom mentioned as an important player in the Cowboys team: Francis Molo.
He was signed in 2017, the year the Cowboys made their brave and admirable charge to the grand final minus Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott. He was initially signed from the Brisbane Broncos to join one of the Cowboys’ feeder teams, the Townsville Blackhawks, which subsequently saw him sign a one-year deal at the Cowboys.
Although his impressive frame would grab the attention of almost any room he enters, he is an unassuming, softly spoken, humble and polite character.
You’ll often hear commentators announce his presence on the screen with “Here’s big Francis now for the Cowboys”. Molo could possibly be the best value buy the Cowboys have made in recent years, and here is why.
His stats make for impressive reading. The 2020 season so far has seen him record 91.4 per cent tackle efficiency, 137 average running metres, 51 average post contact metres and around 20 tackles a game. This is impressive considering he has come off the bench in all bar one game this season. His 2018 and 2019 stats make for equally impressive reading, too.
For a team to win a premiership – and this is not to say the Cowboys will win a premiership anytime soon – while you need culture, skilful players, minimal injuries and suspensions and perhaps some luck, when you boil it down, you need 17 players that you can trust.
And when I say trust, you need to trust that each of these players will leave nothing on the paddock, bust their gut and work their backsides off for the team every time the stud on their boot touches a blade of grass. It’s why Craig Bellamy couldn’t care less about how flashy a player is, but more about the application and work ethic in bringing a player to the Melbourne Storm.
Francis Molo is a player that you can trust, and I always know every hit-up I see him take, that he will hit it with pace and get some go-forward when needed as a Cowboys fan, and I’m sure many will concur with that sentiment. He could easily be the best value buy the Cowboys have made in recent years.