Heat on coaches despite coronavirus: Green

Darren Walton
Cowboys coach Paul Green figured NRL coaches might be given some leeway given COVID-19

Paul Green has dead-balled a return to Cronulla and expressed his disappointment at the number of NRL coaches under the pump to keep their job during the coronavirus pandemic.

The embattled North Queensland mentor insists he isn't feeling the heat despite the Cowboys finishing in the bottom four two years running and slumping to a third straight loss at the weekend.

"I would have thought that if there was ever going to be a year where we didn't see as many sackings or pressure on head coaches, it was going to be this year - but clearly that hasn't been the case," Green said on NRL 360.

"But in terms of my position, no, I'm not feeling pressure that I'm going to lose my job."

While he may have been banking on NRL's version of a 'Jobkeeper' program, the reality is Green, along with the Sharks' John Morris, Brisbane's Anthony Seibold, Canterbury's Dean Pay and St George Illawarra's Paul McGregor are all feeling the heat.

But Green said he was "not sure" why he'd been linked to a return to Cronulla, where he won the Rothmans Medal as the game's best and fairest player in 1995.

Asked if he or his manager had spoken with the Sharks, Green said: "No, neither myself or my agent has contacted anyone - as far as I'm aware. There's no need to."

While heartened to retain the support of the playing group, Green said it was "really important that everyone takes a bit of ownership" for the Cowboys' woes, much of which the coach attributed to the constant chopping and changing of the spine.

"I'm not for a second making any excuses, particularly for that first-half performance," he said of his side's 34-0 trailing of the Tigers at halftime last Saturday.

"But one of the challenges, if you're trying to build team work, is just consistency with your team and that's been a real challenge for us, particularly the past few seasons.

"We just haven't been able to keep those combinations on the park for any stretch.

"Last year we had 12 different combinations in one, six, seven and nine and the most amount of games that any of those combinations played together was four."

Things won't get any easier for Green, with the Cowboys facing a horror draw over the coming month with clashes with each of the current top-four outfits - Parramatta, Newcastle, Penrith and back-to-back premiers the Sydney Roosters.

"It is (hard to block out the pressure), but it comes with the job," Green said.