Like so many people, I was shocked and very saddened to hear of the death at just 49 of Paul Green – my thoughts and condolences go to his family and many friends.
He had a fine career as a player and a coach, leading North Queensland Cowboys to their first NRL title in 2015 and laying the foundations for the successful club they have become.
The Cowboys are right up there with Penrith Panthers, to whom they seem similar in several ways, challenging for honours under Todd Payten this season, and it would be fitting if he could bring the Premiership to Townsville for a second time.
Paul also played for the Cowboys, as well as Cronulla Sharks, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels, Brisbane Broncos, Queensland and Australia, and coached the Maroons in last year’s State of Origin series.
And he had been linked with an assistant’s post at the Dolphins, who will enter the NRL under the leadership of Wayne Bennett next year.
But he was probably best known for his work at the Cowboys. I remember meeting him at Headingley when he brought his team across for the World Club Challenge in January 2016.
He was bubbly, knowledgeable and entertaining, and very approachable, and I remember watching him just before the start of the match, when he seemed to take a moment to enjoy drinking in the atmosphere and the reception he and his team were given by the crowd, which was close to 20,000.
He gave Leeds and the competition the utmost respect by fielding his strongest side, which included the great Johnathan Thurston, and while it hurt to see Leeds well beaten, you had to admire the way the Cowboys did a number on them.
It was clear they were desperate not just to win, but to do it in style, and put their name in the game’s history books.
Of course it’s emerged that Paul took his own life, and it’s another tragic reminder of the mental health issues that so many people encounter.
If anyone reading this column is suffering, please, please talk to family, friends and the professionals who are out there and who can help.
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