With many badges of honour to his name, Paul Aiton is undoubtedly one of the greats of the game but his genuine humility and down-to-earth approach often masks his accolades. Aiton’s life experience makes him one of the most interesting figures in rugby league and a role model for those who face adversity and overcome obstacles to reach success.
Aiton was born in Mount Hagen in Papua New Guinea and at just 6 years old he and his family made the big move to Queensland so that his father could be treated for tuberculosis. Without a word of English in his vocabulary the transition was a challenge for Aiton, but as with most things in his life, Aiton took the circumstances on head first. Football was were he found his niche.
In 2003 Aiton signed with Penrith Panthers and in 2004 with just a year of professional rugby league under his belt we was selected to play for Papua New Guinea against Australia. Playing for his country of origin is one of the proudest moments in Aiton’s life. But this wasn’t to be the first time he would represent in the Papua New Guinea jersey. Aiton was made captain of the National side for the 2012 Four Nations tournament.
Aiton made the switch to Cronulla-Southerland Sharks in 2010 and remained there as a star of the club for two seasons. In 2012 he set his sights abroad for a new venture and a new challenge and subsequently moved to England to play for the Trinity Wildcats.
Beyond the fied Paul juggles a busy life. He is a super star in Papua New Guinea not only for his skills with the football but for his social conscience. Aiton has an unfaltering commitment to improving Papua New Guinea and providing pathways to great achievements for young children in his homeland. In 2007 he completed the Kododa Trail as part of White Ribbon day which raises money and awareness of violence against women. He also supports AusAID in their efforts to educate Papua New Guineans on healthy life choices and protection against HIV AIDS.
Paul Aiton is one of Papua New Guinea’s greatest ambassadors and is a wonderful testament to what can be achieved even in the face of significant adversity and hardship.
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