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Paul Green farewelled as ‘amazing husband’, loving dad, NRL legend and over-achiever

Paul Green the pilot, violinist, Harvard graduate, rugby league champion and “best dad ever” has been celebrated by hundreds on the ground he first announced himself as a coach.

Green, who died at his Brisbane home on August 11, won Queensland Cup premierships with Wynnum Manly in 2011 and 2012.

The former Queensland State of Origin half and a best and fairest in both the BRL and NSWRL went on to coach North Queensland to a maiden NRL premiership.

Many of those the 49-year-old played for, with and against along the way gathered at Wynnum’s Kougari Oval on Tuesday to farewell their mate.

John Lang, Brad Fittler, Trent Robinson, Andrew Ettingshausen, Anthony Minichiello, Steve Renouf, Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuqiri, Luke Ricketson, Todd Payten, Neil Henry, Brad Thorn, Kevin Walters and even AFL great Leigh Matthews all attended.

Johnathan Thurston and many more of Green’s 2015 premiership side also paid their respects, while Green’s casket did a final lap of the oval to complete the ceremony.

And while his footballing genius, as both a player and coach, was lauded it was his qualities as a father and exploits elsewhere that his family and friends reflected on.

“He had that capability of captivating people, whoever his audience,” wife Amanda Green told the audience.

“I could honestly talk about him all day, every day. I knew from that moment (I met him) there was something special about this man … intelligent, engaging, cheeky and so much fun.

“He truly was the most amazing husband, who I’m going to miss dearly.

“We had the deepest love and happiest marriage … I loved you yesterday, I love you today and I’ll love you forever.”

Son Jed remembered the bonfires and fishing trips and said he was the “best dad ever” while daughter Emerson said her father taught her not to worry about what other people thought of her.

2015 NRL Grand Final - Broncos v Cowboys

Paul Green celebrates his finest moment as a coach, North Queensland’s 2015 Grand Final win with Johnathan Thurston. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“If there was any music playing I could count on my dad to pull me onto the dancefloor,” she said.

Good friend Mark Beitz said Green was the “smartest man I ever met, in so many ways”.

A qualified pilot, Green was also a capable violinist, excellent student and recent Harvard Business School graduate. 

“You’ve been taken way too early but what you did in 49 years, most of us won’t do in many lifetimes,” Beitz said.

He said loyalty, perfectionism, intelligence, determination, self belief and fun were the themes he lived by.

“Holy Moly he had self belief at the highest level … you were one of a kind.”

Robinson has renewed his push to create more support for coaches’ wellbeing after farewelling Green.

Green coached Wynnum Manly to consecutive Queensland Cup titles there, before joining Robinson’s staff as an assistant and then piloting the Cowboys to a maiden NRL title.

The NRL offers free and confidential counselling to its players and staff and also works with mental health organisations to offer specialist referrals.

Robinson said he had been working since 2016 to create a coach-specific, independent body to support active and inactive NRL mentors.

“Greeny and I spoke a lot about it over the years but it’s just not in place at the moment,” he said. “It hasn’t quite come to fruition because of finances and differences in opinion of how the structure could be.

“It needs to be there in some form very quickly … that’s our future.”

He said the lack of understanding around the job had been problematic.

“It’s a wonderful job and we take with it the good and the bad and understand that role,” he said.

“Sixteen of us are doing it and Greeny did it for so long.

“When it’s finished they (outsiders) just think their team didn’t win enough or their time was up. They don’t know how to support when it’s done and we have to better at that.”

Queensland great Wally Lewis hopes Green’s death encourages anyone requiring help to seek it.

“We think we’re big tough footballers who don’t need that assistance but each and every one of us are the same,” he said.

Green’s brother Rick said the discussion around mental health and suicide “requires a fair bit of thought before people contribute meaningfully”.

“There’s a lot of people that have tried to put some simple words around that conversation,” he said. “It’s a lot more complex than that and I’ve been very reluctant to go into those sort of discussions.”

Paul Green 1972-2022

Age: 49, born September 12, 1972

NRL playing career: 162 games; Cronulla (95 games, 1994-1998), North Queensland (35 games, 1999-2000), Sydney Roosters (20 games, 2001-2002), Parramatta (seven games, 2003), Brisbane (five games, 2004)

Representative playing career: Queensland (seven games, 1999-2001), Queensland (Super League, three games, 1997), Australia (Super League, two games, 1997)

Coaching career: North Queensland (167 games, 2014-2020, 87 wins and 80 losses for 52.1 per cent win rate)

Representative coaching career: Queensland (three games, 2021, one win and two losses for 33 per cent win rate)

Career highlights: Coach of North Queensland’s inaugural premiership victory in 2015,
Mentored North Queensland to club’s third Grand Final appearance in 2017 but defeated by Melbourne,
Super League grand finalist with Cronulla in 1997 but defeated by Brisbane,
Assistant coach at Brisbane in 2006 premiership-winning season,
Assistant coach at Sydney Roosters in 2013 premiership-winning season.

For anyone experiencing mental health concerns, phone Lifeline 13 11 14 or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.


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