Folkes, who played 245 games for Canterbury, died of a heart attack on Tuesday.

The second-rower was a local junior who won four grand finals for the Bulldogs and also represented NSW and Australia.

He went on to coach the Dogs between 1998 to 2008, where they reached two grand finals, also serving as an assistant at the Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra.

Renowned for his fitness, Folkes later coached the Jillaroos.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg tweeted: "Hard to find the words with the sudden passing of Steve Folkes. A great friend to me personally & admired by many people across the game. Condolences to all his family & friends and to everyone at the Bulldogs who admired his loyalty, toughness & leadership."



Willie Mason played under Folkes at Belmore.

"Shattered to hear my old coach Steve Folkes has passed away this morning!!" he tweeted.

"Was a big part of my career! Prayers go out to the family and friends RIP mate."

Canterbury CEO Andrew Hill said the club was shocked and saddened.

"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."

Darryl Broham was a teammate of Folkes' at the Bulldogs in the 1980s.

"Like everybody else I am numb at the news of Steve Folkes passing," he tweeted.

"Sadly it is almost 5 years to the day since he lost his wife Karen. Thoughts with his Family. So sad."

Former Penrith forward Mark Geyer played againt Folkes.

"Very sad news hearing of the passing of one of rugby leagues real good guys Steve Folkes," he tweeted.

"Great player, even better bloke."