It's Greeny calling – Molo's NRL return

This time last week Francis Molo didn't have Paul Green's number in his phone – he does now.

The newest North Queensland Toyota Cowboy was having an afternoon nap last Thursday when an unknown number popped up on his phone.

After a quick rub of the eyes Molo answered the phone to hear Green's voice on the other end informing him he would be making his Cowboys debut against the Rabbitohs two days later.

"I said 'who's this?' and he said 'it's Greeny mate, you're having a run this weekend," Molo said.

"I took a bit of time to wake up and to process, but once I did wake up I got a bit emotional. It's been a big goal of mine to come back, so it was a special moment.

"I didn't have the coach's number, but I do now. I might not have answered a number I didn't know, but my missus has another baby on the way so I thought it might have been for an appointment."

Molo's Cowboys debut was his first appearance in the NRL for almost three years, although the 23-year-old looked anything but out of place.

In 20 minutes on the field, Molo registered five runs for 42 metres and eight tackles, but it was his ball-playing which really turned heads.

"I just wanted to go out there and do what I do well," Molo said.

"The goal for me was to try and bring some energy to the game and lift the boys when I got on there.

"We were unlucky not to get the win, but hopefully next week I'm still in the side and I can help out the boys again."

If three years out of the NRL wasn't enough motivation for Molo to prove himself in 2018, the New Zealand native has another source of inspiration – fatherhood.

With daughter Ava about to turn two and a baby boy on the way, Molo said providing for his family has been the driving force behind his stellar form in 2018.

"I've got a little boy due in August so I have to keep working for my family and put the food on the table," he said.

"Fatherhood has pushed me a lot and kept me going through tough times. It inspires me a lot, that's what responsibility does in a family.

"I think fatherhood brings the best out of you and gets you through the tough times when you don't want to wake up."

Green was impressed with Molo's first performance in Cowboys colours, in particular his ability to create second-phase play.

"He was good Frankie. His first carry he had the flick pass out the back so he wasn't afraid to try things and I think it's good to play in the moment like that because he's not overthinking what he does," Green said.

"I thought he added a bit of energy out there. I was really pleased for him, it's a great story."