Haven to face Widnes side mourning the death of Kato Ottio

Funeral Service for late Kumul Ottio on Friday

Although he played little NRL, Ottio was popular with his Raiders team-mates.

Kato Ottio in action for Papua New Guinea in 2017.

Ottio played a starring role for worldwide side Papa New Guinea at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup and Widnes Vikings was excited to bring the player to England.

The centre was part of the PNG side that lost to England in November's World Cup quarter-finals.

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart says Kato Ottio's death "knocked me for six".

Operating mainly at center, Ottio then went on to play for Port Moresby #RL side the Dobo Warriors and made the POMRFL squad for the Southern Zone trials in Sogeri.

"We are devastated to learn that Kato Ottio has passed away this afternoon".

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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.

"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.

Club officials had been furnishing the house Ottio and Albert were going to share when they learned the news. Here is a tribute to a player and a man taken too soon.

Marum said numerous players, who gathered outside Ottio's family home wearing their 2017 grand final T-shirts, would need support, including Albert, who was due to share a house in Widnes with Ottio.

'To get this news is devastating, and our thoughts are with his family'.

"It was hard to believe given the age of Kato and how I remembered him here".

"Moreover, in all of our interactions with him, we found Kato to be a person of great character, who was excited to be following his dreams".

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