St George Illawarra forward Francis Molo has pleaded guilty to an intimidation charge, relating to an incident which occurred on December 17 last year.
The 28-year-old was charged with stalking/intimidating a woman in a domestic setting after his matter was briefly mentioned on Wednesday, while it was reported by The Illawarra Mercury that his lawyers intended to dispute some of the details of the incident.
Francis Molo pleads guilty to domestic violence charge
“Francis Molo today pleaded guilty to an intimidation charge relating to an incident at his home,” the Dragons noted in a statement.
“The NRL Integrity Unit was made aware of the matter at the time.
“The Dragons will continue to provide Francis and his partner with any support they require.
“The club will make no further comment on the matter.”
The NRL has set a precedent for issuing players with bans under the ‘no-fault’ stand-down policy, when it comes to them being involved in charges relating to women or children.
It will now be at the discretion of CEO Andrew Abdo to decide on Molo’s situation, as the charge doesn’t meet the required severity to automatically prevent him from playing.
One of the most recent cases of the ‘no-fault’ stand-down condition being applied was when Luciano Leilua was charged last year with alleged domestic violence.
“The decision should in no way be interpreted as a view on the innocence or guilt of the player,” the NRL said in a statement when imposing the suspension on the Cowboys forward.
“The discretionary ‘no-fault stand-down’ condition has been applied in this instance as the criminal charges involve allegations that the player has acted violently in relation to a female.”
Could Francis Molo be banned from playing for the Dragons?
The Dragons prop had previously been banned for four matches for a high tackle in his side’s game against the Gold Coast Titans at the back-end of last year.
However, his club had successfully argued that his remaining games should have been counted towards his absence from the Samoan side at the Rugby League World Cup.
The Dragons noted that the former Queensland representative would have been picked for Samoa, if he hadn’t already been banned.
This meant Molo was originally free to play in round two against the Titans with the Red V beginning their season with a bye.
But if he is issued with a ‘no-fault’ stand-down policy, Molo will be unable to return to the Dragons’ team until the completion of court matters.
It continues a horror off-season for the club with Talatau Amone stood down following serious assault charges.
The news also comes in the wake of Mikaele Ravalawa and Zane Musgrove being disciplined for an altercation at the team hotel after a night out in Mudgee.
St George’s opening games for the 2023 season
|2||Dragons vs Titans [H]|
|3||Broncos vs Dragons [A]|
|4||Dragons vs Sharks [H]|
|5||Dragons vs Dolphins [H]|