Paul Green's family opens up about 'great sadness' after NRL great's death

·5-min read
Paul Green is pictured with the premiership trophy after winning the 2015 NRL grand final.
Paul Green's brother Rick has spoken about the devastating impact of the NRL icon's tragic death. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

NRL icon Paul Green's family have made their first public statement since the 49-year-old's tragic death, which has left the rugby league world in shock.

Green was found dead at his home in Brisbane last week, with the cause of death later, sadly, revealed to be that he took his own life.

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An wave of tributes to the former North Queensland Cowboys and QLD Maroons coach came in the wake of Green's death, as his brother Rick told the Sunday Mail the family had planned a public funeral.

A farewell for Green is planned for either August 23 or August 30, with the final date to be confirmed soon, while venue will be the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls' home ground of Kougari Oval.

Green won a premiership for the club as both player and coach, a fitting nod to his similar feats at NRL level.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail, Rick admitted the circumstances of Green's death had been a shock to the family.

“Everyone is feeling overwhelmed,” Rick said.

“There’s certainly a lot of stories that we’re sharing about our times with Paul but as we reflect on those good times, there’s a great sadness at his passing.

“It’s still very raw and difficult to process."

Tributes have flowed from all corners, from Cowboys coach Todd Payten to newsreader Peter Overton, as the NRL world grapples with the highly respected mentor's death.

Green goes down as a great of the NRL, a two-time Rothman Medal winner as well as premiership coach with the 2015 Cowboys, the first grand final win in team history.

The Green family had earlier issued a statement after his passing.

“Today we are devastated,” the statement began.

“We have lost a devoted husband, loving father and wonderful brother and son. We cannot find the words that would come close to expressing our feeling, however we would like to extend our thanks to those who have reached out to us with their love and support.

“Paul was loved by so many and we know that this news will generate immense interest, however at this time we ask for privacy.

“Our family is still trying to understand this tragedy and we request space and time as we come to terms with this loss. Thank you.”

Cowboys offer gutsy NRL effort against Roosters after Paul Green tragedy

In simple terms, North Queensland were beaten 32-18 by the Sydney Roosters on Saturday.

The Cowboys were gutsy. They twice fought back from double-figure margins but were ultimately out-muscled and outplayed.

With it, North Queensland's shot at a maiden minor premiership is almost certainly gone.

Penrith now hold a six-point lead with three rounds to go, with a significant for-and-against advantage meaning they will surely finish first.

Coach Todd Payten was also unhappy over three refereeing calls, including one where Matt Lodge held Griffin Neame back in a scrum and Roosters hooker Sam Verrills scored.

Payten was insistent it didn't cost his side the match, but against a club like the Roosters it didn't help.

But after the two days North Queensland has endured following the death of former coach Paul Green, that all paled into insignificance.

Ten members of North Queensland's team played under Green two years ago.

And bona fide Cowboy stars such as Valentine Holmes represented Queensland in the State of Origin arena when Green was in charge last year.

Flags flew at half-mast at the SCG, while the Cowboys were visibly moved during the minute's silence before play.

Cowboys players are seen huddled together beneath a screen displaying a tribute to Paul Green.
The North Queensland Cowboys huddled together for a minute of silence to honour past coach Paul Green, who died aged 49. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

"There's just no real words to express what has happened ... and how it has affected a lot of people in the rugby league community and families," co-captain Jason Taumalolo said.

"I can't imagine what (Green's wife) Amanda and the kids are going through.

"Everyone should have someone to talk to regardless of how big or small a problem is. No-one should have to carry that sort of pressure around with them."

Taumalolo said that message had been discussed among Cowboys players, with the NRL also providing welfare assistance.

"I'd like to think we are a tight-knit group and we are able to talk to each other, whenever we go through a tough time or something really difficult," he said.

"I think everyone copes with loss and grief differently. I'm not sure about any of the other boys but everyone is affected differently.

"What has happened has really shocked and rattled most of us. It's going to take some time to get over it."

Playing on Saturday was never in question for the Cowboys but management is unsure how to treat the next few days.

The squad will return to Townsville on Sunday and play on Friday, but some days off remain an option ahead of another emotional week.

With AAP

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