The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are mourning the death of club legend Steve Folkes, following the untimely passing of the former premiership-winning player and coach.
Folkes has died at the age of 59 after suffering a heart attack.
He was a member of Canterbury’s famous 1980 “Entertainers” team which won the grand final over Eastern Suburbs and also featured in the premiership wins in 1985, 85 and 88.
Folkes retired in 1991 after playing 269 games in the blue and white. He also represented NSW on nine occasions and Australia.
He went on to coach the team to the 2004 grand final win over the Roosters during an 11-year stint at the helm of the club.
Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill issued a statement on behalf of the club.
“The club is shocked and saddened at the news of the passing of Bulldogs legend Steve Folkes. Steve played such a major part in the history of the Bulldogs, both as a player and coach, and was without doubt one of the giants of the club,” he said.
“Steve symbolised everything that the Bulldogs stand for and was respected throughout the game for his toughness and determination. He never took a backward step and was loved by the fans for his courage and commitment to the club.
“His legacy as a Bulldog and what he did for the club will never be forgotten and our hearts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time. The club asks that everyone respect the privacy of the family during this time.”
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg, who worked alongside Folkes during his time as Bulldogs chief executive, was devastated by the news.
“I’ve known him for a long time and it wasn’t that long ago that I saw him. He’ll be remembered as one of Canterbury’s greats. But more importantly known as a really great man,” he said.
“A family man who has done a lot of good things for rugby league in the community. I send my thoughts and condolences to his family and to his friends.”
Following his departure from the Bulldogs in 2008, Folkes made the jump to cricket and enjoyed a brief stint as a member of the West Indies high-performance staff, filling the role of strength and conditioning coach.
Folkes returned to league in 2009 when he took up a role with the Wests Tigers as their high-performance manager and assistant coach.
He then moved to the St George Illawarra Dragons where he also took up an assistant coaching role for two seasons.
Folkes then became Australian Jillaroos coach in 2014, a role that he was excited about at the time. He oversaw three Tests as Jillaroos coach before stepping aside from the role in 2016.
Most recently, Folkes was named as the head coach for the Moss Vale Dragons in 2018 in the Group Six competition.