The rugby league world has praised former Raiders, Warriors and Kiwis prop Quentin Pongia, who passed away on Saturday.
"Quentin is the toughest Player I ever played with" - Ricky Stuart— Canberra Raiders (@RaidersCanberra) May 18, 2019
The Raiders are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former premiership player, Raider #149 Quentin Pongia. #WeAreRaidershttps://t.co/QylSW6uAQ4
The 48-year-old had been battling cancer.
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Quentin Pongia after a courageous battle with cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this time. A legend of the game that will be sorely missed. pic.twitter.com/odKXKefj0t— NZ Rugby League (@NZRL_Kiwis) May 18, 2019
Our Club is sad to advise of the passing of our NRL Wellbeing and Education Manager, Quentin Pongia.— Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (@SeaEagles) May 18, 2019
Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and all of those who have been blessed to have been touched by him.
This is a very sad day for our Sea Eagles family and the #NRL. pic.twitter.com/RGfs9eZGDn
Former team mate and current Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart spoke on behalf of the team that Pongia had played 74 matches for, between 1994 and 1997.
"From my personal relationship, and behalf of the current playing group, I'd like to pass on my sincere condolences to Quentin's family in this tough time," Stuart said.
"Like a number of players who played with him, I have nothing but respect and a wonderful friendship with Quentin and although it saddens me to hear of the news, it comforts me to know he has no pain now.
"Quentin is the toughest individual I have ever played with and I know how hard he fought to beat this terrible disease. He will be sorely missed right across the rugby league community."
The Raiders wore black armbands and observed a minute’s silence prior to their game with South Sydney on Saturday night.
Originally from the West Coast, Pongia moved to Christchurch as an 18-year-old in 1988. After playing in the local competition for five years, he was picked up by the Canberra Raiders and helped them win a premiership in 1994. Pongia also played 35 tests for the Kiwis. After retiring from the game in 2003, Pongia had held various coaching roles, most recently at Manly.
In all, he played 137 matches during his NRL career from 1993-2003 for the Raiders, Warriors, Roosters and Dragons, while also playing for two seasons in the English Super League with Wigan.
Rest in love Quentin Pongia..— Frank Pritchard (@PritchardFrank) May 18, 2019
Condolences to your Family God bless 🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/3SNipSWGry
Being born in NZ but growing up in Oz, I found myself always following @NZRL_Kiwis players, regardless of the club jersey they wore. Quentin Pongia was one of the toughest to ever wear the black jersey and I’m so grateful to have known him. Rest In Peace Q 🙏🏽#RIPQuentinPongia— Dene Halatau (@denehalatau) May 18, 2019
So so sad to hear about the passing of Quentin Pongia😢...always said and always will, by far the toughest competitor I had the misfortune to play against...but what a gent off the field. RIP big man #Q— Paul Sculthorpe MBE (@PScully13) May 18, 2019