Price chokes back tears in emotional Folkes tribute
STEVE Price has given an emotional tribute to Steve Folkes, the coach of his 2004 Canterbury premiership side, in a touching address at a packed funeral.
Price choked back tears as he shared some of his fondest memories of the notoriously tough but fair mentor, who died aged 59 last Tuesday.
Price remembered when he first came across Folkes and fellow Bulldogs legend Terry Lamb, with the pair cooking up a nickname for the new kid on the block.
"First thing they did was give me the nickname Ray. If anyone knows the name Ray Price at Canterbury probably isn't held in the highest of esteem," Price said.
"I wasn't really sure if that was a good thing or not but as time went by I saw that it was a good thing in a way I really respect."
Price paid tribute to Folkes' ability as a coach to get the best he could out of his players, partly by setting ridiculous training standards by keeping himself in incredible shape.
It set him apart from the man he succeeded, Chris Anderson.
"The difference between Chris and Folkesy, obviously with Chris you didn't have to beat him at training," Price said.
"Folkesy, every pre-season if you could actually beat Folkesy you were in really, really good condition and you were going to have a really good season.
"I think I done it two or three times but I think the last couple of times he only let me do it so I'd feel better about myself."
But not only was Folkes tough and relentless, Price fondly remembered his dry sense of humour, recalling how the coach had phoned him with a sad but humorous anecdote after the Bulldogs learnt they had been stripped of 37 competition points in 2002 as punishment for salary cap cheating.
"In 2002 we didn't get to do what we set out to do, but had a number of meetings about the salary cap. When the CEO at the time, David Gallop, rang us to let us know the findings, we were here late, I got a call on the way home from Folkesy," Price said.
"He said 'Pricey, you wouldn't believe it'. I said'what mate?' He goes 'I got pulled up by the police on the way home', he said the policeman come and he said 'you're going to lose three points mate'. Folkesy said: 'Three points? We just lost 37.' He goes 'another three's not going to make any difference'.
"That's the sort of person he is with his dry sense of humour."
And that ability to keep the players together in times of adversity paid off a couple of seasons later when Price captained Canterbury to a premiership in 2004.
"In 2004 he was a big supporter of the players and what we were going through," Price said.
"The reason why that group of boys won the comp that year was because of him."