The NSWRL is shocked and saddened by the passing of former Mounties winger Kato Ottio.
Ottio, the Intrust Super Premiership NSW’s leading tryscorer in 2016 and a Papua New Guinea international at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, died as a result of a sudden health issue while training. He was contracted to the Widnes Vikings in the Super League competition for 2018 and due to fly to the UK this week.
NSWRL CEO David Trodden said Ottio would be sorely missed by the Rugby League community.
“Kato Ottio’s passing, at just 23, is tragic. Kato lit up the stage in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW competition for Mounties in 2016 and had an incredibly bright future in our game as his caps for PNG in the World Cup showed.
“He will be sorely missed and our thoughts and wishes go out to his friends and family, not just in NSW but across the world.”
James Rule, CEO of Widnes Vikings, echoed those sentiments.
“We are devastated to learn that Kato Ottio has passed away... Kato was an incredibly talented player, with a bright future ahead of him in Rugby League,”
“This news is all the more tragic, because Kato was due to travel to the UK this week to fulfil his dream of playing first-grade Rugby League. 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.
“Having only learned this morning that Kato had developed a sudden health issue whilst training yesterday, we are in absolute shock to now receive this tragic news. We will be liaising closely with his loved ones to offer them our condolences and support at this difficult time. Widnes Vikings will of course be looking to celebrate Kato’s life and pay our sincere respects to someone who we believe would have become a hero at our Club.”