Hundreds of mourners turned out to farewell Lance Thompson on Friday.
The 40-year-old’s funeral was held at Horizons Convention Centre at Sutherland with a number of rugby league identities including former teammates making an appearance to pay their respects.
Thompson was found dead at his Cronulla unit on the night of August 23 after police and paramedics were called to his home.
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances or evidence of self harm.
Cronulla and St George Illawarra coaches Shane Flanagan and Paul McGregor were both in attendance along with Sharks and Dragons stars Paul Gallen, Wade Graham, Andrew Fifita and Paul Vaughan.
Former Dragons teammate Anthony Mundine was there alongside former Sharks halfback Brett Kimmorley.
A wake was held for Thompson back at Sharks League Club. The club produced a special tribute to Thompson, mowing his No.12 into the Shark Park playing surface, an idea of great mate Flanagan.
A two-time Australian Schoolboys representative and Hurstville United junior, Thompson made his first grade debut for St George as a 17-year-old while still a student at Kingsgrove High School in 1995.
He went on to play 239 games for St George and St George Illawarra including two grand finals – the Dragons’ 1996 loss to Manly and St George Illawarra’s defeat to Melbourne three years later.
He enjoyed a 14-season first grade career, his final three with Cronulla after he joined the Sharks for the start of the 2006 campaign.
Thompson played 38 games in the black, white and blue before announcing his retirement due to an ongoing knee injury as well as being diagnosed with type one diabetes.
He also represented City Origin five times.
Thompson was a fan favourite at Jubilee Oval and Shark Park, with both St George Illawarra and Cronulla wearing black armbands and paying tribute to him before their home matches against Canterbury and Newcastle last month.
The Sharks also retired their No.12 jersey that day, with Graham wearing No.23 out of respect for Thompson.
Dragons forward Tariq Sims presented his own number 12 jersey and his playing boots to Thompson’s daughter, Shalisse, after their loss to the Bulldogs.