Bulldogs honour Steve Folkes in the best way

"Great man and great Bulldogs legend."

That's the epitaph Des Hasler would write for former Canterbury-Bankstown forward Steve Folkes.

In 2012 as the incoming coach at the Bulldogs, Hasler spawned the idea of a state-of-the-art high performance centre, with altitude rooms, anti-gravity treadmills, all the latest rehab and recovery gear basically.

Hasler sowed the seed and around $12 million and six years later the Steve Folkes High Performance Centre will be officially opened by the son and daughter of the late Bulldogs forward, Hayley and Daniel.

It's been just over a year since Folkes suffered a heart attack, while exercising at home. He was 59.

But in the only NRL game being played at Belmore Sports Ground in 2019 – Sunday's round 11 match against Melbourne Storm - the Bulldogs club and its chair, Folkes's sister-in-law, Lynne Anderson, has brought the HPC to life.

Hayley and Daniel Folkes
Hayley and Daniel Folkes ©Canterbury Bulldogs

"Steve believed that 'preparation is everything' and he showed everyone that anything can happen if you put your heart and mind to it," Anderson said.

"He wasn’t the biggest or the fastest, but he took great pride in being the fittest and it is only right that we have named our gym the Steve Folkes High Performance Centre in honour of a great Bulldog legend."

Lynne's younger sister, Karen, married Folkes but she died in 2013 from cancer, aged 55. Both women were daughters of former chief executive Peter 'Bullfrog' Moore, who led the club  for 26 years (1969-1995).

Lynne Anderson with Hayley and Daniel Folkes.
Lynne Anderson with Hayley and Daniel Folkes. © Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Hasler remembers the grit and gumption of Folkes.

"One of Steve's great attributes was that he never shied away from hard work," Hasler told NRL.com.

"So it is very fitting that the Bulldogs should name the HPC after him.

"It's a great gesture for a great man, great clubman, and Bulldogs legend. Vale, Steve Folkes."

Canterbury CEO Andrew Hill said Folkes had left an incredible mark on the club.

"We saw that just over 12 months ago at what was a very moving tribute to him at Belmore.

"The club, the ground, has been such an important part of his life and that of his family.

"He had a very unique history having played here, and being the strength and conditioning coach, and then the head coach… very few people across the game can ever hold those positions and achieved the success he did across all three roles," Hill said.

The interior of the new Steve Folkes High Performance Centre
The interior of the new Steve Folkes High Performance Centre ©Canterbury Bulldogs

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 1984, '85 and '88. Folkes played 269 first grade games.

He was the premiership-winning coach in 2004 over the Roosters. After leaving the NRL he coached the Jillaroos for three years.

"With all that in mind, naming the high performance centre after him reflects the huge imprint Folkesie has left on the club," Hill said.

Steve Folkes holds the trophy after the 1985 Bulldogs premiership win over the Dragons
Steve Folkes holds the trophy after the 1985 Bulldogs premiership win over the Dragons ©NRL Photos

Members of the 1980 and 2004 premiership-winning teams will be at the ceremony.

Another former premiership winning Bulldogs coach, Chris Anderson (1995), who went on to coach the Australian Kangaroos, knows the connection between Folkes and a gymnasium only too well.

"Steve was a five-eighth who built himself up to a be a 90kg second rower. He played well above his weight, was a superb defender with the hands of a back.

"He perfected a great technique in defence, honed through hours of discipline in the gym," Anderson said.

"That makes the gym a perfect legacy."