The St. George Illawarra Dragons have announced the re-signing of rookie forward Michael Molo on a two-year deal, tying the front-rower to the Red V until at least the end of the 2024 season.
The younger brother of former Maroon and Dragons' forward Francis, Michael made his debut earlier this season at the ripe age of 25, scoring in his maiden first-grade game against the Warriors.
While a premiership-winning stint with the North Devils certainly proved his credentials, a first-grade contract wasn't always on the cards for Molo, and he knows it.
"A couple of years ago I was working a 9-5 job and would watch the NRL every weekend and I would always tell my mates it was something that I still wanted to achieve so I'm really proud of how far I've come," Molo told the Dragons website.
"I'm very thankful for the opportunity and grateful that the Dragons were happy to have me here for the pre-season. My older brother Francis has been in my corner since the start too and taught me what it takes to be a first grade player."
Currently making over 20 tackles a game, at over 99% efficiency, there's little doubting that Michael has what it takes to chalk up a lot more than his current tally of five games in the NRL.
It comes as a key signature for head coach Anthony Griffin's squad, who've already announced the retention of other key components in Blake Lawrie, Jack Bird, Tyrell Sloan and more for 2023 and beyond, and will certainly give the Dragons a boost as they teeter on the edge of the top eight.
Their finals push will be heavily reliant on this weekend's clash with the 10th-placed Roosters, with Molo named in the reserves for this must-win game.