Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Widnes Vikings centre back Kato Ottio dies while training

Widnes Vikings centre back Kato Ottio dies while training

Ottio spent two seasons with the Canberra Raiders in Australia but after failing to break into their National Rugby League squad, which saw him sign with Widnes in December.

"He called up and said he wanted to come and train with us", Hunters and Papua New Guinea coach Michael Marum said.

He was taken to the hospital but died early this morning. All the players were there.

Ottio had only taken up rugby league just over three years ago, before the Raiders spotted the former volleyball star playing in the Queensland Cup in 2015.

Whitehaven will face a Widnes club in mourning when they open their pre-season programme on Friday night. "Not only Wellington but the other players as well".

"I only spoke to him last week about his move to England and he was so excited to be heading over there, one door shuts and another one opens, it was a new adventure for him and I told him it would be great move and wished him all the best", Antonelli said. And, at just 23 years of age, he was only going to get better - a scary thought for a player that was already exciting and enthralling crowds in PNG and Australia.

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Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister and Minister for Sports, Peter O'Neill, has extended the Nation's condolences to the family and teammates of the Late Kato Otio.

Stuart said his death had "knocked me for six" and described him as "a very respectful young man who appreciated" the club's efforts to support his career.

He became an instant star in 2016 with Raiders feeder club, the Mounties in the New South Wales Cup, scoring in nearly every match he played in, earning himself another year with the team.

'Kato was an important part of our club and very close mate to all our boys and staff'.

"We will be liasing closely with his loved ones to offer them our condolences and support at this hard time".

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