The name #Garry Lo means a lot in #Papua New Guinea; hailed as a hero throughout the country, the reaction as he introduced himself to a mass of children at the KopKop College in Port Moresby, PNG's capital city, was one akin to a celebrity. And, in Sheffield - where he became a standout for the Eagles in the Championship - he is also a household name. Yet, before the #world cup, if one mentioned the name Garry Lo outside of both PNG and Sheffield, the name would have meant little. Now, his name has become one of the most popular in Rugby League circles. Lo's rise has been nothing short of remarkable.

Early life

Born in Mount Hagen - the third largest city in Papua New Guinea and named after the old eroded volcano just 15 miles away - Lo became affiliated with Rugby League at an early age.

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Playing at junior level for local clubs, he then made the step up to local Mount Hagen side, Gomis Panthers RLFC. From there, he was taken on trial by Mount Hagen Eagles - a side in the Digicel Cup (the semi-professional PNG National Rugby League competition) - and impressed enough to earn a contract for the 2011 season.

Move to the capital

Lo would play another season for the Eagles before study commitments at the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby meant he left the Eagles after scoring 18 tries in 50 appearances. Halfway through the Digicel Cup 2013 season, the Port Moresby Vipers came calling. His try-scoring record of 13 in 16 games for the Vipers and his physical capabilities at such a young age impressed Queensland Cup side, PNG Hunters.

In what was their debut season in Australia's second-tier (2014), the Hunters finished a commendable sixth and just a point outside the playoffs.

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In a brilliant season, Lo won the top try-scorer award for 2014 with 24 - a sign of things to come for the future. And even more impressive at the tender age of just 21, whilst at the Hunters, Lo was given his international debut by the head coach of the PNG national side Michael Marum. Lo would make two appearances for the Kumuls, scoring three tries.

Controversy

At the end of the 2014 season, Lo was signed by the then Gateshead Thunder (now Newcastle Thunder) coach and PNG veteran, Stanley Gene, in a move that heralded criticism from Lo's previous club - PNG Hunters - whom accused Gene of "player grabbing" after Gene failed to contact either the Hunters or the PNGRFL. In a bizarre turn of events, Lo would be at Thunder for just two months before rejoining the Hunters, apologising for leaving the club and his teammates.

The Hunters, however, made it clear that Lo would not just be able to waltz back into the team for the Queensland Cup and, after being shunned by head coach Michael Marum, Lo departed for his local side Mount Hagen Eagles once more.

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Yet, just before the Digicel Cup got underway, Lo was named in Michael Marum's 21-man squad to take on the Mackay Cutters in Round 6 of the Queensland Cup after injuries to some of the Hunters' key men had forced Marum's hand. Lo, however, suffering from a lack of match fitness after little playing time in the past year, would only register three appearances for the Hunters in the 2015 season before he was on the move again.

Move to Sheffield

At the end of November 2015, Lo made the switch to England once more. After his ill-fated period in the North East, Lo made a name for himself in South Yorkshire. Still only 22, he quickly became a fans favourite, exciting crowds with his powerful running and eye-catching speed. It was in his two-year spell with the Eagles in the Championship where Lo's try-scoring exploits became seriously impressive. Over the course of the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the PNG national scored 50 tries in 46 matches, earning eight man-of-the-match awards and amassing a quite unbelievable 200 points in such a short space of time.

Super League and Castleford

Castleford Tigers' coach Daryl Powell is renown for unearthing young and untapped talents from Britain's lower leagues. And, after being clearly impressed by Lo's formidable record in the Championship, Powell decided that the powerhouse winger could make the step up to Super League as the Tigers gave Lo a two-year deal with the option of a third.

Upon signing him, Powell remarked: "I've had a good look at him and I think he will fit perfectly into the way that we play. He's an exciting player, he's very robust and a strong ball carrier who's got an ability to pass the ball as well, so I think he'll be a very exciting player to add into what we have already got."

With a blockbusting running game and an ability to punch serious holes through opponents' defence, Garry is truly an exciting prospect whom can have Castleford fans on their feet in 2018. And, despite his small stature and powerful physique (just 5 ft 7, yet over 15 stones), Garry has an unbelievable leap and turn of pace that belies his size. It has been in the World Cup where Lo has documented these talents for all to see.

World Cup performances

When Castleford announced the signing of Garry Lo in late September, most of the Tigers' faithful were unsure what to make of the news. Fans had seen his wonderful try-scoring record, but very few had seen him in action. Likewise, supporters of other Super League clubs barely flickered with the announcement; most had never seen Lo on the field either. That was until this year's World Cup kicked off in late October.

In a 50-6 drubbing of Wales, PNG was fantastic. But, amongst all the star performances, one man stood out on the wing: Garry Lo. Reminiscent of a human wrecking ball, the Welsh simply could not handle him. It was not just a one-off either; in the opening three games, Lo has made a gargantuan 449 metres - second only to opposite winger Justin Olam - and an astounding 142 metres post-contact. His performances against Ireland and the USA were along the same destructive lines also.

Lo is like very few in the game: the World Cup has demonstrated his capacity to smash through defences, but also his ability to eat up the yards even after hitting the defence. This has, in turn, kept his PNG side on the front foot for large periods of their opening three matches. And, if PNG wants to shock the world with a victory over a - so far - underwhelming England side, Lo needs to replicate this sort of form.

A popularity that is second to none

Lo is also a cult hero off the field and is idolised by youngsters and adults alike, especially in his native PNG. In fact, wherever he travels, Lo is mobbed by gleeful fans, who are overjoyed at finally getting to meet the great Garry Lo. Firm fans favourite at whichever club he has been at, Castleford fans will love Lo's rampaging and destructive style. Get ready Super League, Castleford has a whole new proposition on the wing, ready and raring to make his mark on the top flight.