Yesterday the world of Rugby league was shocked to hear that Papua New Guinea and Former Canberra Raiders centre Kato Ottio had been passed away shortly after been taken ill during a training session. The young back was immediately taken to hospital in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby, but doctors were unable to save him.
The 23 year old had won 6 caps for his country scoring one try however, he was a late comer to the game, even though Rugby League is the National sport of PNG, Ottio had come from a volleyball back ground where he had also represented his country before switching to Rugby League four years ago, signing for NRL Canberra Raiders only two years later. Although he did struggle to make first team grade at Canberra, he was a regular fans favourite with their feeder club The Mount Pritchard Mounties who played in the New South Wales Cup.
At the time of his death he was training over in Australia while awaiting visas to enable him and follow team PNG team mate Prop forward Albert Wellington to join Super Leagues Widnes Vikings ahead of the 2018 season. The pair were scheduled to arrive in the UK within the next seven days.
Both players had played significant parts in their countries recent march to the World cup quarter finals where they lost to eventual runners up England, in a game that saw Ottio have a try disallowed by the video ref.
His performance’s during the world cup had defiantly but Ottio in the shop window and they’re was a buzz around not only Widnes but super league about what this young man could achieve, with Widnes Chief Executive James Rule describing him as an incredibly talented player, while Widnes Head coach Dennis Betts, who coached against Ottio at the recent world cup said “We found Kato to be a person of great character, who was excited to be following his dreams.”