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Benkato "Kato" Ottio[2][3] (20 March 1994 – 9 January 2018) was a Papua New Guinean rugby league footballer. Primarily playing as a centre, Ottio represented the Papua New Guinean national team, most notably at the 2017 World Cup.

Kato Ottio
Kato Ottio.jpg
Personal information
Full nameBenkato Ottio
Born(1994-03-20)20 March 1994
Tatana Island, Papua New Guinea
Died9 January 2018(2018-01-09) (aged 23)
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Playing information
Height194 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Weight102 kg (16 st 1 lb)
PositionWing, Centre, Second-row
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2015–17 Papua New Guinea 6 2 0 0 8
Source: [1][2]


Early lifeEdit

Ottio was born and raised in the village of Tatana, near Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.[4]

Before playing rugby league, Ottio played volleyball and was a member of PNG's squad at the 2013 Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna, which won gold,[5] and Amoa NCD's team at the 2014 Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship in the Philippines.[3][6] Ottio then took up rugby league exclusively, playing at an amateur level for the Dobo Warriors.[5]

Playing careerEdit

Early careerEdit

In October 2014, Ottio played for the PNG Prime Minister's XIII against the Australian Prime Minister's XIII, which saw him subsequently sign with the Papua New Guinea Hunters of the Queensland Cup, starting in 2015.[5] Ottio made his debut for the national side in May 2015 against Fiji. In February 2016, Ottio signed a two-year contract with the Canberra Raiders,[6] spending the duration with the Raiders' feeder team, the Mount Pritchard Mounties, in the New South Wales Cup. He was named on the wing in the 2016 NSW Cup Team of the Year, having scored 29 tries in 23 games,[7] the New South Wales Rugby League's leading tryscorer in 2016.[8] Ottio was not considered for PNG's May 2017 match against the Cook Islands as he had recently returned from a long-term injury.[9] In October 2017, Ottio was named in PNG's squad for the 2017 World Cup.[10]

Widnes VikingsEdit

In December 2017, Ottio signed with the Widnes Vikings who play in the European Super League.[11][12]

International capsEdit

Ottio won six caps for the national side, known as the Kumuls. His debut was in May 2015 against Fiji at the Robina Stadium, Gold Coast. A second cap, also against Fiji came a year later and Ottio scored his debut international try at the Parramatta Stadium in Sydney. Selected for the Kumuls squad for the 2017 World Cup, he played in all three of the team's group games played in Port Moresby and scored a try in the game against Wales. His final international game was the quarter-final defeat to England at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.[1]


Ottio collapsed due to heat stroke while training alongside the Papua New Guinea Hunters on 7 January 2018, and died in the early hours of 9 January suffering from internal bleeding.[8][13] He had been due to travel to the United Kingdom to join the Widnes squad for pre-season training on 11 January.[14][15] Ottio's funeral was held on 12 January at Sir John Guise Indoor Complex, and was attended by the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O'Neill.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Kato Ottio". Rugby League Project.
  2. ^ a b "Benkato Ottio". World of Volley. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b "PNG • AMOA NCD: Players" (PDF). Asian Volleyball. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  4. ^ Ritchie, Dean (7 December 2016). "Kato Ottio goes from PNG volleyball team to Canberra Raiders NRL side". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Ami, Jack (17 February 2016). "Ottio up for Raiders trial". The National (PNG). Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b Gaskin, Lee (26 February 2016). "Canberra Raiders sign PNG international Kato Ottio for two years". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  7. ^ "2016 ISP NSW Team of the Year". 22 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Papua New Guinea rugby league player Kato Ottio dies after falling ill at training". ABC News. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  9. ^ "NRL stars missing from Pacific Test squads". Radio NZ. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  10. ^ Dutton, Chris (4 October 2017). "Kurt Baptiste and Kato Ottio picked in Papua New Guinea squad for World Cup". Canberra Times. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Widnes sign centre Kato Ottio from Canberra Raiders". Sky Sports. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  12. ^ Helmers, Caden (2 December 2017). "Former Canberra Raiders winger Kato Ottio signs with Widnes". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  13. ^ Bauai, Gloria (9 January 2018). "Ottio succumbed to heat stroke". Loop PNG. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Kato Ottio: Widnes Vikings & Papua New Guinea centre, 23, dies". BBC. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  15. ^ Walter, Brad. "Players struggling with Ottio death after training collapse". Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  16. ^ Campbell, David (12 January 2018). "Kato Ottio rejected Dragons deal so he could join PNG in RLWC". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 January 2018.

External linksEdit