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Rugby league rocked by young star's death

Rugby league rocked by young star's death

Ottio's manager Steve Deacon detailed the moments before the former-Raider collapsed, while training with QLD Cup team the PNG Hunters. He was unconscious and in a coma and they were not able to revive him. 'We had been in regular contact with Kato and were excited to welcome a bright, excited and passionate young man, who had genuine potential for the future'.

He had been due to travel to the United Kingdom this week to fulfil his dream of playing first-grade rugby league in Britain.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said he was "lost for words" upon hearing of Ottio's death.

"As a club, Widnes Vikings have committed to making a private donation to Kato's family to support them at this hard time".

James Rule, the Viking CEO, said: "Kato was an incredibly talented player, with a bright future ahead of him in rugby league".

Antonelli confirmed Austin was among a number of senior Canberra players organising a tribute in the capital to Ottio on the same day as his funeral in PNG.

Ottio made the move from Rugby Union, the code he had been playing along with volleyball, to Rugby League with the help of former Kumul Josiah Abavu, who persuaded him to play for Maopa Paio in the 2014 Southern Nines.

Fellow PNG international Ottio died at the age of 23 on Tuesday after collapsing during a run
Fellow PNG international Ottio died at the age of 23 on Tuesday after collapsing during a run

"We suspended Hunters training effective as of yesterday when we saw that he (Kato) wasn't well".

Club officials had been furnishing the house Ottio and Albert were going to share when they learned the news.

Ottio signed for Widnes at the end of previous year from Australian team Canberra Raiders.

In a statement, Widnes Vikings head coach Denis Betts said: "To receive this tragic news is heartbreaking".

After signing for Canberra in early 2016 he established himself as a major part of feeder club Mounties, scoring regularly in NSW Cup fixtures.

"Widnes Vikings would like to thank everyone who supports these efforts, and to again offer our honest condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues".

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