NRL world in shock over devastating death of Paul Green at 49

Paul Green, pictured here before a Cowboys game against the Roosters in 2020.
Paul Green looks on before a Cowboys game against the Roosters in 2020. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The rugby league world is mourning the tragic death of former NRL player and coach Paul Green.

The 49-year-old reportedly died at his Brisbane home on Thursday morning, with a post-mortem set to be carried out.

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According to the Daily Telegraph, Green had not complained about feeling ill before his tragic death.

Green played for Cronulla, North Queensland, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta and Brisbane in a 162-game career as a halfback, five-eighth and hooker.

He played seven games for Queensland in State of Origin, as well as two games for Australia during Super League in 1997.

Johnathan Thurston, pictured here with Paul Green after winning the 2015 NRL premiership with the Cowboys.
Johnathan Thurston celebrates with Paul Green after winning the 2015 NRL premiership with the Cowboys. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

He will be most remembered for his stint as Cowboys coach from 2014 to 2020, in which he guided the club to their maiden premiership in 2015.

In total, he was in charge of the Cowboys for 167 games with the 2015 title coming in just his second season as head coach.

He also coached the Maroons in State of Origin last year before he was replaced by Billy Slater.

His exact cause of death is not yet known.

Green has been regularly linked to a return to coaching at various NRL clubs this year after Trent Barrett and Michael Maguire were sacked by the Bulldogs and Tigers respectively.

He had also reportedly been offered an assistant coaching role under Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins for the Redcliffe-based team's inaugural season in 2023.

Green was in Sydney only last weekend for a Cronulla Sharks' ex-players’ reunion - the club where he played 95 games before moving to Townsville.

He joined the likes of Mat Rogers and David Peachey at the ‘Great White Sharks Reunion’ at Shark Park and didn't display any signs of ill health.

He is survived by wife Amanda and children Emerson and Jed.

Beyond those still at North Queensland, Green has coached several players across the game who began their careers in Townsville or played for the Maroons last year.

On Thursday night alone Cameron Munster, Xavier Coates and Viliame Kikau are among those due to take to the field just hours after learning of their former coach's death.

Paul Green, pictured here with wife Amanda Green at the Dally M Awards in 2015.
Paul Green with wife Amanda Green at the Dally M Awards in 2015. (Photo by Cameron Laird/Getty Images)

NRL world in shock over death of Paul Green

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys led tributes to Green on Thursday afternoon.

“Paul was a brilliant player, and then became one of the few to make a very successful transition into coaching,” V’landys said.

“As a player, he represented Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos, and throughout his career had a reputation as a halfback who was as tough as he was skilful. Paul was rewarded with the Rothmans Medal in 1995.

“As a coach he led the North Queensland Cowboys to one of the most famous Grand Final victories of all time – against 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 Competition Committee and found Paul to be a passionate, smart and witty individual. Our condolences go to his family and to his many friends.”

Paul Green, pictured here before Game I of the 2021 State of Origin series.
Paul Green looks on before Game I of the 2021 State of Origin series. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said: “We are deeply saddened by this loss, and on behalf of the game, I’d like to extend our deepest condolences to Paul’s family, his friends, and those who have been inspired and mentored by him over the course of his long career.”

Tributes have also been flooding in on social media for the beloved icon.

Wests Tigers player Jackson Hastings tweeted: "Can’t believe the Paul Green news this morning. Achieved it all as a player and coach still had so much to give, taken way to soon.

"Thoughts and prayers with family and friends. Makes you realise to take nothing for granted. RIP."

Former Cronulla and Queensland forward Martin Lang wrote: “This is so sad. Paul was a close mate, we moved to Sydney together in 1993 … the beginning of an outstanding NRL playing/coaching career.

"My sincere condolences to Paul’s wife, children and his dear mum and dad. Rest In Peace mate.”

with AAP

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