WIDNES Vikings have swooped for Papua New Guinea Rugby League World Cup star Benkato ‘Kato’ Ottio from Canberra Raiders.

The Vikings secured the services of the sought-after 6 ft 4, 105kg, outside back, who made a significant impression for the Kumuls during their eye-catching 2017 World Cup tournament.

He joins the Vikings with a reputation as one of the most promising prospects in the Australian leagues, having scored 29 tries in 23 games in his debut season for Canberra Raiders Intrust Super Premiership NSW feeder team, the Mounties.

Ottio, 23, collected the Winger of the Year award in the NSW Cup, with the Canberra Times newspaper saying that he “stamped himself as a try-scoring freak, making 22 line-breaks and 99 tackle busts” in his breakout season.

Kato’s move is subject, as standard, to visa approval and the Vikings are looking to welcome him to pre-season training at the earliest opportunity.

The deal was supported by VIQI, Vikings Quids In, an independent supporter-led organisation that has assisted the Vikings to secure the likes of Chris Houston, Corey Thompson and Tom Olbison.

The organisation has also signed up to become Kato's player sponsor.

Denis Betts, Head Coach of Widnes Vikings, said: “Kato is a fantastic signing, who we are delighted to welcome to Widnes Vikings.

"He is a big outside back, with World Cup experience.

"I am excited by the quality that he will add to our edges. He is relishing his opportunity to play in the Super League, and is looking to make a big impression at Widnes Vikings.”

“Kato is a player whose qualities we have seen during the World Cup.

"I have also spoken to several people in the NRL and connected to Canberra Raiders during my time at the tournament, who rate him very highly.

"It is exciting for us to follow the recent signing of Krisnan Inu with another talented outside back, who will add competition and quality to the team.

“These deals have been made possible thanks to everyone who has strengthened the club by signing up for 2018 Viking Stronghold Membership, as well as the generous backing of VIQI.

"We are continuing to explore further transfer targets to improve the team.

"Everyone who invests in this club, whether that’s by signing up for Membership or becoming a commercial partner, makes a real contribution to these efforts.

"I grateful to everyone who has supported us to build for 2018.”