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Castleford have had to intervene and pay for new signing Garry Lo’s travel arrangements back to the United Kingdom after Papua New Guinea officials refused to pay for his flights home.
Lo, who was last week named as the breakout star of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in the new issue of Rugby League World magazine, impressed for the Kumuls throughout the tournament, finishing the year with 40 tries for club and country.
That earned him a move to the Tigers, where he signed a two-year deal with Daryl Powell’s side, but they have now been forced to arrange his travel home.
That prompted outrage from Lo’s manager, Graeme Taylor, who has praised Castleford for their support in getting Lo back to the UK. He is expected to begin pre-season training with his new club midway through next month.
Taylor said: “It has been brought to my attention that PNG have refused to pay for Garry’s flight back from the World Cup, which I find extremely disappointing considering the fantastic tournament he had for them.
“I have been liaising with Castleford, who have been very supportive to Garry to help with his travel arrangements back to the UK.”
Taylor also questioned why Lo was left with no meaningful support to get back to England. “It is very simple,” said Taylor. “If a player’s original departure is from the UK, then his return journey should be to the UK. However, I am not surprised by the action, as Garry only found out he was in the squad a few hours before a flight was arranged for him to fly to PNG.
“Also, we should be mindful this is not Australia and England, where players get paid to play for their country; these players do it for the pride of putting on the shirt and representing the people of a fantastic country like PNG.
“It works both ways. The players do everything they are asked for, which is appearing at numerous promotional activities to support the World Cup for no pay, and then they go and leave one of the stars of the tournament high and dry about trying to get back to where he works and gets paid!
“This needs to be looked at, because if this World Cup was in England, and this was an NRL player, it would not happen!”
Meanwhile, a deal that will see the Tigers sign Callum Bustin is set to be completed imminently. The 20-year-old has been at the club since June on a trial basis but is set to sign a permanent deal. Upon completion of the deal, the centre is due to join Bradford Bulls on a season-long loan. Bustin was released by London Broncos before landing an opportunity at the Tigers.