Paul Green dead, cause of death, age, North Queensland Cowboys coach, player career, achievements
The rugby league world is in mourning after the sudden death of Paul Green aged 49 at his home in Brisbane on Thursday morning.
Green was in Sydney last weekend for the reunion of the former Cronulla players, one of five teams the former Australia and Queensland representative has played for during his career.
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‘HARD TO BELIEVE’: Honors flow as NRL is rocked by death of Paul Green
“Today we are devastated,” Green’s family said in a statement.
“We have lost a devoted husband, a loving father and a wonderful brother and son. We cannot find words that would come close to expressing our feelings, but we would like to say thank you to those who have reached out to us with their love and support.
“Paul was loved by so many and we know this news will generate immense interest, but at this time we ask for privacy.
“Our family is still trying to understand this tragedy and we ask for the space and time to come to terms with this loss. Many Thanks.”
Queensland Police also released a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“Police were called to a residence in Wynnum just after 10am this morning after a 49-year-old man was unresponsive,” a Queensland Police spokeswoman said.
“A short time later, emergency services pronounced him dead.
“There are no suspicions. A report will be prepared for the coroner.”
It was also revealed Thursday afternoon that Green was eyeing an NRL coaching role as an assistant for next season.
“It will become clear over the next few days that Paul Green will be returning to coaching as an assistant next year,” said Rugby League reporter Ben Dobbin Triple M.
“He wanted to get back in and he had a way to get back to first grade coaching. But he took an assistant job and worked his way back up. He leaves an enormous legacy. This is a great loss. This guy was an absolute superstar on and off the field.”
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Green had a successful playing career that spanned 162 games, appearing for the Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos.
After hanging up his boots, he transitioned into coaching and led the Cowboys to their first-ever Premiership in 2015 before also taking charge of the Queensland Maroons Origin squad.
In a playing and coaching career that has seen many highlights, Green’s greatest role would be guiding North Queensland to their first Premiership in 2015.
Green first took the helm with the Cowboys in 2014 and saw immediate results when the Cowboys won the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines tournament.
North Queensland carried preseason form into the season proper, finishing fifth in the standings before being dramatically eliminated by the Roosters in the semifinals.
The Cowboys improved to third place in the 2015 season, and this time they went all the way to the title by beating the Broncos in a golden point thriller for the ages.
North Queensland also made it to the grand final in 2017 under Green’s watch, even without legendary halfback Johnathan Thurston, but were outclassed by Melbourne.
Last year, Thurston revealed the first conversation he had with Green that led to their drought-breaking 2015 title triumph.
“He joined the club in 2014 and I remember the first meeting we had at the Dally Ms in 2013,” Thurston said WWOS.
“He asked me how the cowboys were perceived back then. I said, “We’re pretty inconsistent.” He stopped me quite a bit and said ‘You can’t win away and you can’t win when you’re on the touchline’ so what do I have to do to change that?
“We had to get everyone to train to the intensity required and he did that and over those years we’ve won a Premiership, reached four finals in a row and another big final, so he’s a great coach.
“I was bought into the club in 2005 to win a Premiership. He brought everyone to that level and won the club’s first-ever Premiership which was great scenes for North Queensland and we will never forget it.
Green said he will “always cherish” the year he won the Premier League with the Cowboys after leaving the club in 2020.
“I’m grateful to the board for allowing me to run this club while creating some lifelong memories,” he said at the time.
“A OUTSTANDING CAREER”: NRL WORLD SHOWS GREEN TRIBUTE
Tributes from the rugby league world came quickly after news of Green’s sudden death broke.
Former Melbourne Storm and Maroons whore Cameron Smith called it “shocking news”. SEN radio.
“A very sad part of the day,” Smith said, responding to the news alongside Denan Kemp, who was coached by Green in the early stages of his rugby league career.
“It definitely rocked me and Kempy in the studio and everyone in the rugby league world.
“It’s a sad day for everyone involved in the rugby league family and community. We send our best wishes and condolences to the entire Green family.”
Kemp spent a little time learning from Green in the early stages of his career and credited his ability to turn around Queensland Cup team, the Wynnum Seagulls, after a challenging start to the season.
“I was lucky, he was my kick and catch coach when I got through with the Broncos and he was my coach when I was at Wynnum, too,” Kemp said.
“I dealt with him a little bit but in the time I did that it was really interesting, the year I was at Wynnum I ended up signing with another club to leave him , but we had a really difficult start to the season. Greeny managed to turn around the Wynnum Seagulls and we won the Premier League that year.
“He’s a fighter. It’s a very sad day to see Greeny go like this.”
Ex-teammate Martin Lang wrote on Twitter: “This is so sad. Paul was a close friend, we moved to Sydney together in 1993… the start of an outstanding NRL career as a player/coach. My sincere condolences to Paul’s wife, children and dear mother and father. Rest in peace buddy.”
Meanwhile, Tigers playmaker Jackson Hastings wrote: “I can’t believe the news from Paul Green this morning. As a player and coach achieved everything, still had so much to give, taken far too soon. Thoughts and prayers with family and friends. Makes you realize not to take anything for granted. REST IN PEACE.”
North Queensland halfback Chad Townsend also paid his respects, writing: “RIP Paul Green. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”
The Eels, Sharks and Roosters Broncos also paid tribute to Green on social media, while the Cowboys issued a statement on the club’s website.
“Paul first came to our club as a player in the late 1990s and was the club’s first Origin representative, but his enduring legacy dates back to his seven-year tenure as head coach of the North Queensland Cowboys,” said chairman Lewis Ramsay.
“Paul’s arrival as head coach transformed our club from finals contenders into an instant Premiership squad, culminating in historic 2015 Grand Final victory.
“We will forever remember Paul as one of the greatest contributors in Cowboys history.”
OFFICIAL NRL STATEMENT:
Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) Chairman Peter V’landys said: “Paul was a brilliant player and then became one of the few to make a very successful transition into coaching. As a player, he represented Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos and had a reputation throughout his career as a tough yet skilled halfback. Paul was awarded the Rothmans Medal in 1995.
“As a coach, he led the North Queensland Cowboys to one of their most famous Grand Final victories of all time – against the Brisbane Broncos in 2015. He represented Queensland and Australia as a player and only last year coached the Maroons in the State of Origin series.
“I had the pleasure of sitting on the NRL Competitions Committee and found Paul to be a passionate, smart and witty person. Our condolences go to his family and many friends.”
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said: “We are deeply saddened by this loss and on behalf of the game I would like to offer our deepest condolences to Paul’s family, his friends and everyone who has been inspired and cared for by him over the course of his long career. “
PAUL GREEN FACT FILE
– half-back; played 162 first grade games 1994-2004.
* 95 games played for Cronulla (1994-98)
* 35 for North Queensland (1999-2000)
* 20 for Sydney Roosters (2001-02)
* 7 for Parramatta (2003)
* 5 for Brisbane (2004)
– Played for Cronulla in the 1997 Super League Grand Final
– Represented Queensland in seven State of Origin games 1999-2001.
– Played two Super League tests for Australia in 1997
– Assistant coach of the 2009 Brisbane Broncos
– Wynnum-Manly Intrust Super Cup 2010-12
– Sydney Rooster’s Holden Cup 2013
– Assistant NRL coach to the 2013 Sydney Roosters
– Queensland residents 2012-13
– North Queensland 2014-20
– Queensland 2021
– Won Intrust Super Cup title with Wynnum-Manly 2011, 2012
– Led the Sydney Roosters Holden Cup team to the 2013 Finals Series
– Led North Queensland to the 2014-17 finals series
– Won Premiership with North Queensland in 2015
– Won the Club World Cup with North Queensland in 2016
– Led North Queensland to the 2017 Grand Final