St George Illawarra Dragons coach Paul McGregor said his side would honour the legacy left by Lance Thompson when they take on Canterbury at Jubilee Oval on Sunday.
Thompson was found dead on Thursday night in his Cronulla home at the age of 40, news which saddened both those who knew him and fans of the game.
Speaking in Wollongong on Saturday morning, McGregor said he had been in contact with Thompson as little as four days before his death.
"We only shared texts on Sunday, [they are] tragic circumstances," he said.
"Big T, he's a good man. One of the most committed footballers I've seen take [to] the football field.
"Strong character, played with passion [and] purpose. It's been a tough 36 hours, to be honest with you. I got told nice and early."
As well as having a spot in the top four to play for against the Bulldogs, McGregor said the chance to honour Thompson would inspire his players.
"We will go out tomorrow and play for Thommo. One of the reasons is that the Red V meant so much to him, we need to honour that when we take the field tomorrow.
Cronulla Sharks great Paul Gallen offered a heartfelt tribute to Thompson on Friday night.
The veteran forward said Thompson's impact on his career was immeasurable.
"The player I played with who had the biggest influence on me and my career. Thanks Thommo, I'll miss you mate," he posted on Instagram.