Quentin Pongia loses cancer battle at 48

New Zealand rugby league great Quentin Pongia has died at the age of 48, after a battle with cancer.

Pongia represented the Kiwis 35 times and played for the Raiders, Warriors, Roosters and Dragons in Australia between 1993 and 2003, before spending two seasons in the Super League with Wigan.

He was a member of Canberra's premiership-winning team in 1994 and following his playing career had coaching roles with the Raiders and Sea Eagles.

Canberra coach and former teammate Ricky Stuart described Pongia as "the toughest individual I have ever played with".

"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 told raiders.com.au.

"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." 

Quentin Pongia during a Junior Kiwis training session in 2015.
Quentin Pongia during a Junior Kiwis training session in 2015. ©Patrick Hamilton/photosport.nz