Broncos’ CEO did not interrogate Molo over tackle
BRONCOS chief executive Paul White has told an inquest Francis Molo never came to his attention as a player "over-represented for poor behaviour".
Mr White was in Melbourne when he learned about the 2015 collision involving James Ackerman which is being examined in Brisbane Coroners Court.
"One, a young man's lost his life. Your first concern is for James and obviously his family, then obviously Francis Molo, Frank," he said.
He said Mr Molo "was absolutely devastated" and not "in a fit state to front a judiciary process".
The CEO did not ask Mr Molo about the collision.
He said without "professional support" it would have been dangerous to interrogate the player.
Earlier, Ackerman family lawyer Peter Boyce asked Norths coach Paul Gliddon why nobody from Norths, or the Broncos, spoke to Mr Molo about shoulder-charges.
"Why didn't you do something?" the lawyer asked.
"Maybe I should've," the coach replied.
Mr Boyce asked what safety improvements the sport might adopt.
"The game's probably the safest it could possibly be at the moment," Mr Gliddon said.
He conceded shoulder-charges still happened.
Norths chief executive Jamie Dowse said Mr Molo was "quite emotional" after the June 2015 incident.
"Generally, Francis is a nice, quiet kid," he said.
EARLIER: DESPITE another contentious shoulder-charge incident the year after Mr Ackerman's deaths, an inquest has heard the Norths did not feel Francis Molo needed to be spoken to about the potentially dangerous practice.
Ackerman family lawyer Peter Boyce asked Norths assistant coach Paul Lowe how the Broncos and feeder clubs communicated over player disciplinary incidents such as the collision with Ackerman.
"There's no formal process with that that I'm aware of, " Mr Lowe told Brisbane Coroners Court.
The court heard emotions also boiled over in 2016 when Mr Molo was again accused of a shoulder-charge during a game against the Falcons.
Mr Lowe said he did not believe shoulder-charges were effective anyway.
"It's never been in my repertoire to coach a shoulder-charge," he said.
The coach said Mr Molo was calm before games, including the fateful match on June 20, 2015.
"My recollection of Frankie after the incident … he was in shock, he didn't say a great deal. I don't know how he handled it," he said.
Mr Lowe told the court Mr Molo was known for being polite, hard-working, and having a generally good attitude.
EARLIER: HIS HEROES were the ones who taught him to shoulder-charge, former Brisbane Broncos prop Francis Molo told an inquest.
"Sonny Bill Williams was an idol of mine. He was good at doing it, because it was legal. I looked up to him … tried to be like him," he told Brisbane Coroners Court.
Mr Molo told counsel assisting the coroner Megan Jarvis that when the charge was allowed in the rules, he too used it to his advantage.
The coroner is examining the death of Sunshine Coast Falcons player James Ackerman who died after an on-field collision with Mr Molo.
Nobody in the league hierarchy spoke to Mr Molo about the fateful 2015 collision, he told the inquest. Nobody from Norths, or the Broncos, or the NRL.
The shoulder-charge was technically banned in 2013 - but players often escaped censure.
In August 2015, the NRL decided any player who shoulder-charged using force would automatically face match review committee charges.
Mr Molo was vague when asked about his knowledge of the rule changes, but he believed penalties for shoulder-charges were "pretty harsh" now.
The NRL website said in this year's Telstra Premiership, players would be charged if contact was forceful, and the player did not use, or try to use his arms to tackle or take hold of an opponent.
Broncos lawyer Jennifer Rosengren said the Broncos "had worked very hard" with Mr Molo to improve his fitness, so as to not expose him to these sorts of tackles in future.
Mr Molo said he knew shoulder-charges were dangerous, and could result in a team being penalised or a player put on report and suspended.
"Sometimes the collision's so big … you don't know what it's going to be like when you're playing," he said.
Queensland Rugby League barrister Damien Atkinson said despite the lack of conversation with league authorities about the collision, Mr Molo had been referred to a psychologist, and had many sessions with him.
Mr Molo said he was no longer contracted with Broncos - the contract ending "a couple of days ago."
His relationship with the Broncos began when he was 13.
Ackerman family lawyer Peter Boyce asked Mr Molo if there was anything to stop him performing a "gold standard" tackle on Mr Ackerman, rather than a shoulder charge.
Mr Molo admitted he could have tackled the Falcons player differently.
"I look back know and think it was stupid. It was stupid of me," he said.
Ackerman inquest: Molo says 'I was doing my job'
FORMER Brisbane Broncos prop Francis Molo says James Ackerman ran straight at him and never changed direction on the day they collided.
"Usually players change direction. I was a bit scared myself," he told Brisbane Coroners Court.
The Norths front rower told the inquest into Mr Ackerman's death on field that he believed his opponent was trying to run into him.
"That's his job. Our job's to try and get over each other, sort of. We both played hard. He was just trying to do his job to the best of his ability, and I was doing my job," Mr Molo said.
Mr Molo said he "knew it was going to be a high-impact tackle" so he braced himself.
"I think he was just playing hard. That's just the player he was," he said.
Mr Molo remembered Mr Ackerman losing the ball after the collision.
"I didn't know how bad he was. I pushed him a little bit. I just pushed his head a little bit, just playing the game. I didn't know how critical or bad the situation was."
Mr Molo said aggression was "how footy's played" and a normal part of the game.
He had never watched footage of the incident, and his lawyer Peter Lane said the league player found it distressing to do so.
The Broncos player was tearful as the court heard discussion about the footage, and Mr Ackerman's condition after the collision.
Deputy state coroner John Lock earlier explained Mr Molo could refuse to give evidence if the answers might incriminate him.
The only exception was if a person gave untrue answers, which could lead to perjury charges.
At the time of the incident, Mr Molo was training with the Brisbane Broncos during the week, then joining Norths, a Broncos feeder team, and playing front row with them.
Mr Molo said he was no longer contracted with Broncos - the contract ending "a couple of days ago".
James Ackerman inquest to hear from player who hit him
THE inquest into rugby league player James Ackerman's death will hear this morning from the player who collided with him.
Mr Ackerman, a 25 year-old father of two, died when playing for the Sunshine Coast Falcons against Norths Devils in 2015.
Norths player Francis Molo has arrived to give evidence on the third day of the inquest at Brisbane Coroners Court.
Mr Ackerman died in hospital two days after the collision with Mr Molo.
Earlier this week, touch judge Stephen Kanowski told the court the Norths player shoulder-charged the Falcons player, then pushed him after the collision.
The inquest has also heard from police, who chose not to prosecute Mr Molo.
Police decided the June 2015 incident at the Norths ground in Nundah did not meet evidential sufficiency or public interest tests.
Molo, now 22, plays prop for the Brisbane Broncos.
Broncos chief executive Paul White is expected to give evidence at the inquest on Wednesday afternoon.