Kato pushed back Dragons deal, reveals brother

Putting on the PNG Kumuls jersey to play in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup meant more to Kato Ottio than anything else – including signing a contract with the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The shocking news was revealed yesterday by elder brother, Ahulo Ottio, when he delivered his brother’s eulogy in front of over 2,000 people that flocked in to pay their respects at the Sir John Guise Stadium indoor complex.

“He actually had the option to join St George but that contract came with a condition. That condition was to forgo the World Cup and undergo surgery.

“He told me about it and I lost count of how many times I practically begged him to take up the offer and forget the World Cup. I even lobbied with mum to talk to him when he came up for a break, but it was all in vain.”

Kato wasn’t moved.

“I was like ‘my goodness you are young enough to play another 3 World Cups before even thinking of retiring.’”

Ahulo said his smaller brother responded with a smile and a giggle.

“He said ‘yes bro that may be true but I want to play in front of my people – we don’t know when the World Cup will come back to PNG’.

“Seeing him out there with his band of brothers who were able to pull PNG together as one for a short 4 weeks was something nobody can ever put a dollar amount to it and I am proud and happy after all that he did what he did,” said Ahulo.

(The Late Ottio evading US defenders during the World Cup)

Troy Taule