Kris Radlinski pays tribute to 'warrior' Quentin Pongia
Kris Radlinski and Brian Carney have paid tribute to their former Wigan team-mate Quentin Pongia, who has died aged 48.
The ex-Kiwi captain, who played 30 games for the Warriors between 2003-04, had been battling cancer for some time.
Carney described him as the most ferocious team-mate he ever played alongside.
And the Warriors' executive director Kris Radlinski, in Barcelona for today's Super League clash with Catalans at the Nou Camp, said: "On this historic day for the club my mood turned somber when I heard about the passing of Quentin.
"It really hurts when one of your former team-mates dies, you become quite reflective.
"Quentin was a warriors in every sense of the word - tough, fierce and honest. He has lost this battle sadly and he will be in our hearts as we take the field today. Rest in piece, champion."
Wigan will wear black armbands in today's game in memory of Pongia.
Former winger Carney, now a Sky Sports presenter, said: "Q was the most ferocious player I have ever stood besides on the field.
"He intimidated the intimidators in his own side, never mind the opposition. He was quietly spoken and never without a can of energy drink in his hand. Rest in peace Q...'shorten 'em up'."
Pongia carved out a successful career with Canberra, Sydney Roosters and Auckland Warriors - as well as starring for the Kiwis - before arriving at Wigan, helping them reach the Grand Final under Mike Gregory's watch.
He retired from the sport the following year but stayed in the Wigan area for some time afterwards, working as a personal trainer, before returning to Australia where he most recently worked as Manly's welfare officer.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said: "Quentin is the toughest individual I have ever played with and I know how hard he fought to beat this terrible disease."