Sentiment is soft, Steve plays to win
By Dean Ritchie From: The Daily Telegraph April 16, 2010 12:00AM
IF YOU’RE looking for sentimentality in rugby league, don’t bother calling Steve Folkes.
Tonight, for the first in 32 years, Folkes comes against Canterbury Bankstown - the club where he won four premierships as a player and one as coach.
Folkes will be in Wests Tigers colours this evening - as strength and conditioning coach - when his new club meet Canterbury at the SFS.
A former Australian forward, Folkes has always been known as a tough, emotionless, uncompromising, even prickly, character from the hard old days of rugby league.
Folkes, 51, will forever be a legend at Belmore as a second-rower, trainer and head coach.
He played 245 games for Canterbury and coached the first-grade side over 288 matches since first walking into Belmore back in 1978.
Yet Folkes doesn’t seem to care much about his past.
When contacted by The Daily Telegraph yesterday, Folkes did not seem all that emotional about playing against Canterbury.
“It’s just another game. I’m just doing the job [for the club] where I’m at now,” he said.
Asked if he had any emotion about the game, Folkes said: “Not at all.”
Asked if he had a soft spot for the Dogs, Folkes - in a shot at management - said: “For the players.”
“I know Steve Folkes and he is not a man of any great emotion,” said Canterbury great Steve Mortimer, a former teammate.
“He will want to see Wests Tigers belt Canterbury - and that is understandable. He is a human being and his employer is now Wests Tigers.”
Folkes remains miffed at being forced out of Canterbury after 10 years as a NRL coach.
In that time, he recorded 162 wins for a success rate of 56.3 per cent.
“With Steve Folkes there as their strength and conditioning coach I know they’ll all be fit,” Canterbury captain Andrew Ryan said.
"Folkes is a very hard worker and I’m sure he’s done some great things with those guys, as he did with a lot of people here at this club for a long time.
“Folkesy is a very mentally tough guy and it didn’t matter if he was coaching or in that role early on here at Canterbury but he has always been a mentally strong guy, so I’m sure he’ll be transferring that through to their players.”
Former Newcastle premiership-winning coach Michael Hagan said Folkes had made a substantial difference to Wests Tigers this year.
“They already look a different side to recent years,” Hagan said.
“Folkes has the Tigers looking more and more like the old Bulldogs, tough and uncompromising.”
“He has really given the joint venture club plenty of grunt. I reckon Wests Tigers are top four candidates.”