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Lions pay emotional tribute to former teammate

Members of the Great Britain Rugby League Lions squad visited Tatana Island ahead of their clash with Papua New Guinea this Saturday in Port Moresby to pay tribute to former Kumul international Kato Ottio.

Ottio played for Canberra Raiders between 2016 and 2018 alongside Great Britain stars Josh Hodgson, Blake Austin, and Elliott Whitehead and the trio ensured that the Lions visited the village to pay their respects during their visit to Papua New Guinea.

The squad were met by the entire village before a short ceremony and the chance to visit Kato’s grave along with being taken to Kato’s mothers' house, which was the former centre’s legacy after he passed away, aged just 23 in 2018.

Commenting on the visit hooker Josh Hodgson said, “It was important for us to come to Kato’s village and pay our respects.

It was fantastic to see the young children and how excited they were to see us, Kato always had a big smile on his face and loved the game and you can still see that with those who are following in his footsteps.

Kato’s mother gave us a warm welcome and I know this is something that will live with all of us for a long time.”

Blake Austin added, “They say it takes a village to raise a child and you can see where Kato got his love of life from when you meet the people he grew up with and lived alongside.

He was a fantastic guy. When he passed away, unfortunately, we were unable to attend his funeral, which was a big regret. However, this felt very special and a chance for us to visit his grave and leave a Lions shirt in tribute to him.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.