12th January 2018, 09:53 | Widnes

Widnes Vikings sign Papua New Guinea prop Stanton Albert

Widnes Vikings sign Papua New Guinea prop Stanton Albert

Widnes Vikings have announced the signing of Papua New Guinea prop Stanton Albert.

Stanton’s brother Wellington had been due to travel to England with fellow new signing Ottio this week to begin their contracts with the Vikings.

Ottio died in the early hours of Tuesday morning local time after collapsing while running with his former PNG Hunters team-mates in Port Moresby.

Stanton Albert, 23, who made three appearances at the recent World Cup, joins Widnes from PNG Hunters on a two-year deal, pending visa approval.

“Stanton is a player that we have had real interest in, even before my time at the World Cup,” said Vikings head coach and England assistant Denis Betts.

“He came highly recommended to us by some of our key contacts in Australia, and I was very impressed in what I saw in his international appearances for PNG at the tournament.

"Stanton joins the Vikings with a great pedigree and a desire to build his career. He will create real competition for places, because he is desperate to play and wants to make the most out of this opportunity."

Club officials had been furnishing the house Wellington Albert and Ottio were going to share.

The Vikings hope the presence of his brother will help Wellington settle into his new surroundings at a difficult time.

"His move also makes a lot of sense, given the tragic news of Kato’s passing," added Betts.

"We believe that Wellington and Stanton will get the best out of each other, and settle well in the local community together.

"Of course, Widnes Vikings have a famous heritage of brothers and relatives representing the club, and we are excited that the pair have the opportunity to forge their own chapter in that history."