Shattered Cowboys players needed to see the club chaplain after Paul Green’s death – as current coach Todd Payten reveals the debt he owes his predecessor
- Cowboys NRL players struggling to comprehend the sudden death of Paul Green
- Coach Todd Payten said he and his family owe Green ‘a great deal of gratitude’
- Green hired Payten ahead of 2015 season, pair guided Cowboys to NRL title
- If you or anyone you know needs support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
On the cusp of his first finals series, Todd Payten feels he owes Paul Green for helping him carve out a career as an NRL coach.
The Cowboys were still reeling on Friday after the death of their former mentor Green on Thursday, who led the side to their maiden premiership in 2015.
Their club chaplain has met with club veterans who played under Green, who oversaw 167 games between 2014-2020, with welfare specialists and psychologists also available.
The NRL has also deployed professional support services for Cowboys players and staff.
Payten was an assistant to Green when North Queensland triumphed in the grand final over Brisbane 17-16 seven years ago and said the experience made him a better head coach.
Todd Payten feels he owes the late Paul Green for helping him carve out a successful career as an NRL coach
Payten was an assistant to Green when North Queensland won the 2015 grand final against Brisbane – and is adamant the experience made him a better head coach
‘Myself and my family owe him a great deal of gratitude,’ Payten told reporters on Friday.
‘He gave me an opportunity to bring my family up here when I didn’t have a job, and that was his decision.
‘He made me a better coach in many different ways, certainly challenged everyone around him to be better and you know, he was good company.
‘He was a good father and was a good person.’
It has been a difficult 24 hours for the grieving Cowboys, with a clash against the in-form Sydney Roosters at the SCG looming on Saturday.
Green led the club to two grand finals in three years, transforming a side featuring NRL great Johnathan Thurston into a powerhouse.
The 2015 triumph ensured Green’s legacy as North Queensland’s maiden premiership-winning coach was cemented.
Asked if he felt pressure in filling the big shoes Green left behind following a golden era in Cowboys’ history, Payten said he never looked at it that way.
‘He is always going to be the coach of our maiden premiership here and will be etched in our history books,’ Payten said.
‘He’s had a significant contribution to our club and he’s going to be sorely missed.’
For help in a crisis, call 000. If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact Lifeline 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.