T he Canberra Raiders took on the Newcastle Knights in round 2 with the Knights prevailing 30-28 at GIO Stadium in Canberra.

It wasn’t the result that the home fans were hoping for but more than a thousand supporters stuck around after the game for what was to follow. A tribute to the life of Kato Ottio, an NRL player from Papua New Guinea who spent time as a squad member for the Raiders. Ottio sadly passed away unexpectedly during training in Papua New Guinea earlier this year before his departure for England.

Image Credit: Canberra Raiders

The memorial saw the teams put their differences aside to appreciate life and be grateful for the opportunity. The Raiders with arms linked, the Knights likewise. In the middle, saw a song and dance native to Kato’s homeland performed in front of his family as well as Raider’s captain Jarrod Croker and coach Ricky Stuart.

The celebration of his life was finalised with the family and friends releasing white balloons into the sky to the sounds of applause from the crowd members who stayed behind.

The efforts of all of the players involved is to be commended with every player from the Raiders and also Kalyn Ponga from the Knights making the effort to shake hands and pass on condolences to the family before they left the ground. Witnessing such an event makes not only the players, but the fans realise how special life is and that rugby league isn’t the be all and end all as some make it out to be.

It brings the realisation that life can take sharp turns and can be unpredictable but when something tragic happens, even two opponents can come together and unite in times of need.


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