A FORWARD contracted to the Brisbane Broncos was behind the tackle on the weekend that left a Sunshine Coast rugby league player fighting for his life.
Francis Molo, 20, was last night struggling to come to terms with the hit that caused a serious head injury to Sunshine Coast Falcons player James Ackerman in the first half against the North Devils at Bishop Park on Saturday.
Mr Molo’s manager Simon Mammino said the junior rep star was receiving counselling and support from the Broncos.
“Frank isn’t coping too well,” Mr Mammino said. “He’s got his girlfriend with him and he’s trying to understand what has happened on a rugby league field playing the game that he loves.
“The NRL and Broncos welfare people have been great. I am providing support for Frank with his family. It’s a terrible incident and our best wishes go out to James Ackerman’s family.
“Frank is not a dirty player, he plays tough but fair,” he said.
The QRL match review committee has footage of the incident, which would typically be reviewed on the Monday after the weekend’s games. It is understood, however, that the sensitivity of the incident has prompted a delay in the review.
Brother Tom Ackerman thanked the community for their support after messages flooded social media over the weekend for James, being treated at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
“It’s so comforting there are friends and family willing to do anything to get to you and to be with James,” he said. “We’ve been through so much as a family over the last few years and this seems to be the final swing to try and knock us down. Thank you for your support and with it we will never fall. I love you all, please send prayers to James.”
Friend of the father-of-two, Joanne Haigh-Lee, sent her love to the family, saying: “James you are a fighter and a survivor. Your amazing family and your beautiful children will surround you with love and get you through this.”
Other clubs, including the Rockhampton Leagues Club Capras, Gaters Rugby League Football Club, Easts Tigers and Kawana Rugby League Club extended their thoughts and prayers to the player.
Queensland Rugby League managing director Rob Moore said Ackerman had been treated at the scene immediately.
NRL Welfare officers and councilors have been called in to speak to the players, coaches and referees involved in the match.
Courtesy of Peter Badel and Brittany Vonow of The Courier-Mail