The NRL Deal Kato Ottio Knocked Back For PNG World Cup Spot

"I want to play in front of my people"

12 January 2018

Article heading image for The NRL Deal Kato Ottio Knocked Back For PNG World Cup Spot

Kato Ottio loved 'his people' so much he knocked back an NRL contract from the Dragons, so he could take his place in PNG's World Cup squad.

Ottio who tragically passed away this week after collapsing while training with QLD Cup squad the PNG Hunters, was only days away from joining English Super League Club Widnes.

However, Ottio’s brother, Ahulo Ottio Jnr, speaking at his brothers funeral service in Port Moresby, detailed the lengths Kato was willing to go to play for his beloved PNG.

"I’m not sure a lot of people know this but (Kato) had the option to join St George but the contract came with a condition for him to forgo the World Cup and clean out his ACL surgery," Ahulo said.

"He told me about it and I lost count of the times I begged him to take up the Saints’ offer and forget the World Cup.

"I even lobbied mum to talk him out of it but it was all in vain. His response was with a smile and a giggle.

"He said ‘yes bro, that’s true, but I want to play in front of my people. We don’t know when the World Cup will come back to Papua New Guinea and this is my only chance’.

"Seeing him out there in a band of brothers was something no-one can put a dollar to and I’m proud he did what he did and played for his country."


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