Bulldogs rugby league great Steve Folkes dies aged 59
The NRL is in mourning after the sudden death of former Canterbury great Steve Folkes, who won five premierships with the club as a player and coach.
Folkes was a Canterbury local, playing junior football for Bankstown before joining the Bulldogs as a 19-year-old in 1978.
The tough second-rower became part of the great Bulldogs side of the 1980s, playing in six grand finals and winning four — in 1980, 1985, 1986 and 1988.
He played 245 games for the Bulldogs in two stints before retiring in 1991. He also played nine times for New South Wales in State of Origin, and had five Tests playing for the Kangaroos.
In addition, he played two seasons for Hull FC in England, playing 24 matches.
Folkes returned to the club in 1996 as assistant coach, and he succeeded Chris Anderson as senior coach in 1998 — he remained in the job for 11 seasons.
The highlight of his time in charge came in 2004, where the Bulldogs made it to the grand final before beating the Sydney Roosters 16-13 at the Olympic stadium.
He left the club in 2008 and was an assistant coach for a number of NRL clubs — he also coached the Australian women's rugby league team, the Jillaroos, from 2014-2016.
The Bulldogs released a statement on Tuesday confirming Folkes' death.
"The club is shocked and saddened at the news of the passing of Bulldogs legend Steve Folkes," Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill said in a statement.
"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.
"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."