Brisbane’s Molo named for Cook Islands

The NRL player involved in the tackle that resulted in James Ackerman’s death has been named in the Cook Islands train-on squad for their World Cup qualifier against Tonga next month.

Brisbane Broncos forward Francis Molo recently completed an eight-week suspension for a shoulder charge on Ackerman on June 20 that left the Sunshine Coast Falcons prop unconscious.

Ackerman, 25, died two days later.

Molo, 21, made an emotional return to rugby league last month and is training with the Broncos’ NRL side as they continue their push in the NRL finals.

He was one of 18 players including first-graders Jordan Rapana, Tupou Sopoaga and Tinirau Arona, named by Cook Islands coach Alex Chan on Friday.

Tonga also released an extended 39-man squad laden with NRL experience.

Former Parramatta Eels icon Fuifui Moimoi will fly in from England for the Test, and will be joined by NRL stars Jorge Taufua, Peni Terepo, Sika Manu, Anthony Tupou and Sebastine Ikahihifo.

The qualifier will be played at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on October 17.

The two teams are battling it out for the sixth and final spot in the Asia-Pacific region for the 2017 World Cup, to be played in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Cook Islands train-on squad: Francis Molo (Broncos), Makahesi Makatoa (Bulldogs), Jordan Rapana, Ezra Howe Junior (Raiders), Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Aaron Teroi (Storm), Eric Newbigging (Eels), Tupou Sopoaga (Panthers), Tinirau Arona (Sharks), Wallace Tangiiti (Rabbitohs), Reuben Porter (Roosters), Chance Peni, Esan Marsters (Wests Tigers), Anthony Gelling (Wigan), Adam Tangata (Halifax), Fred Pakutoa (Wentworthville), Drury Low (Narellan), John Papalii (West Belconnen).

Tonga train-on squad: Antonio Kaufusi, Danny Fualalo (Bulldogs), Leva Li (Titans), Jorge Taufua, Siosaia Vave, Tony Satini (Sea Eagles), Peni Terepo, Vai Toutai, John Folau (Eels), Leilani Latu, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Sika Manu, Daniel Foster, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak (Panthers), Anthony Tupou, David Fifita, Saulala Houma, Malakai Houma, Pat Politoni (Sharks), Michael Oldfield (Rabbitohs), Vaha Pulu, Willie Manu (Roosters), Albert Vete, Sione Lousi, John Palavi, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Siliva Havili, David Fusitu’a (Warriors), Sitaleki Akauola, Asipeli Fine, Joel Luani, Salesi Funaki, Delouise Hoeter (Wests Tigers), Ukuma Taai (Huddersfield), Fui Fui Moi Moi (Leigh), Atelea Vea (St Helens), Mickey Paea (Hull FC), Nafe Seluini (Burleigh) and Charlie Faingaa (Redcliffe).

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