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Paul Green death: Footy legend’s roughest year after losing dream job selling house: NRL

Paul Green was found dead at his home on Thursday, just months after the rugby league legend had the roughest year of his life.

The 49-year-old former player and coach is understood to have taken his own life in the garage of his Brisbane property at about 10am with Queensland Police saying the circumstances were ‘not suspicious’.

His tragic death comes less than a year after he lost his dream job as Queensland State of Origin coach, when the Maroons’ were soundly defeated in their 2021 campaign.

Green served just a year in the job which he described as ‘every Queenslander’s dream’. 

The pain of losing the role came after he sold his Townsville mansion for $1.85 million at auction in February last year.

When the home was listed, Green admitted: ‘It is pretty tough to move and tough on the family’, while describing the property as the ‘house my kids have lived in most of their life’. 

Paul Green and wife Amanda Green. The footy legend’s death came less than a year after he lost his dream job

Green lost his dream job as Queensland State of Origin coach, paying the price for the Maroons' horrible 2021 campaign

Green lost his dream job as Queensland State of Origin coach, paying the price for the Maroons’ horrible 2021 campaign

When he lost his role as Origin coach, Green said he remained interested in returning to the NRL coaching fold and couldn’t fully commit to his job. 

Green’s most recent role was as Leadership & High Performance Coach at the BMD Group. 

He was also linked to Wests Tigers at the end of last season and was expected to take on a role at the Dolphins next year. 

Following the news of his death, head coach Wayne Bennett revealed he was in negotiations to bring Green to the Redcliff club as his assistant.

Former Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini said he is a ‘broken man’ after hearing that his ‘lifelong friend’ had died, revealing how Green had been messaging him to meet up just three days earlier.

‘This is so, so sad. I am a broken man. I cannot believe this has happened,’ Lancini told News Corp.

‘I had spoken to Paul just three days ago and he said we need to catch up for a beer.’

Lancini, who worked in a string of leadership roles at the Cowboys over a 20-year career, said he had known ‘Greeny’ his entire life but admitted he had become ‘lost’ since leaving coaching.

‘Greeny mentioned he was keen to coach again and had some options and I asked Greeny if he really wanted to go back into it again,’ Lancini said.

‘Greeny has come from a position where he coached a club to a premiership and a second grand final. He has coached State of Origin. He has coached at the highest levels and I think Greeny was a bit lost and confused about where his life needed to be without coaching.

‘The last few years have been a bit tough on him because he hasn’t been coaching in the NRL.’

Green’s heartbroken family paid heartfelt testimony on Thursday afternoon, describing the rugby league legend as a ‘devoted husband, loving father and wonderful brother and son’.

‘Today we are devastated. We cannot find the words that would come close to expressing our feelings, however we would like to extend our thanks to those who have reached out with their love and support.

In February last year, Green also sold his Townsville mansion for $1.85 million at auction (pictured)

In February last year, Green also sold his Townsville mansion for $1.85 million at auction (pictured)

Paul Green (pictured from L-R with the family's pet dachshund Dasher, daughter Emerson, son Jed and wife Amanda) was found dead in his garage just one day after his son's ninth birthday as his shattered family speak out following the loss of the beloved NRL figure

Paul Green (pictured from L-R with the family’s pet dachshund Dasher, daughter Emerson, son Jed and wife Amanda) was found dead in his garage just one day after his son’s ninth birthday as his shattered family speak out following the loss of the beloved NRL figure

Dozens of mourners including Broncos legend Andrew Gee (centre, in black jacket) are seen arriving at Green's Brisbane home following his shocking death on Thursday

Dozens of mourners including Broncos legend Andrew Gee (centre, in black jacket) are seen arriving at Green’s Brisbane home following his shocking death on Thursday

Green's family released a statement on Thursday saying they were 'still trying to understand this tragedy'. Green was found unresponsive in the family home's garage

Green’s family released a statement on Thursday saying they were ‘still trying to understand this tragedy’. Green was found unresponsive in the family home’s garage 

‘Paul was so 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.’ 

Dozens of family and friends gathered at the family home this afternoon to pay their respects; former Broncos legend Andrew Gee among them. 

The death of the former halfback – who took out one of the sport’s highest awards as a player when he collected the Rothmans Medal in 1995 – has thrown the footy world into shock and mourning.

Green quit as the Cowboys’ coach in 2020 but was still highly rated in the league and was due to be an assistant to Wayne Bennett with the expansion Brisbane team Dolphins next year.

Green starred at halfback for Cronulla from 1994 to 1998, guiding them to the 1997 Super League grand final.

Green went on to play from the Cowboys, Roosters and Eels in a first-grade career that spanned 10 years and ended in 2004, racking up 162 games with 37 tries to his name.

The rugby league world is in shock after the death of Green (pictured with his wife Amanda)

The rugby league world is in shock after the death of Green (pictured with his wife Amanda) 

Loved ones are seen gathering at Green's family home in Wynnum, Brisbane on Thursday

Loved ones are seen gathering at Green’s family home in Wynnum, Brisbane on Thursday

Green is seen celebrating with footy star Johnathon Thurston after winning the 2015 NRL Grand Final

Green is seen celebrating with footy star Johnathon Thurston after winning the 2015 NRL Grand Final

The death of the former halfback - who took out one of the sport's highest awards as a player when he collected the Rothmans Medal in 1995 - has thrown the footy world into shock and mourning (pictured is Green with Maroons player Christian Welch)

The death of the former halfback – who took out one of the sport’s highest awards as a player when he collected the Rothmans Medal in 1995 – has thrown the footy world into shock and mourning (pictured is Green with Maroons player Christian Welch)

Green is seen starring for the Sydney Roosters during the 2001 NRL season

Green is seen starring for the Sydney Roosters during the 2001 NRL season

The diminutive half played seven State of Origin games for Queensland from 1998 to 2001 and two matches for the Australian Super League team in 1997.

His stellar coaching career began with the Cowboys in 2014 and the next year he guided the club to their only premiership, a thrilling 17-16 victory over the Brisbane Broncos in extra time.

Green coached Queensland’s State of Origin team for one series in 2021. When he resigned from that job last September, it appeared certain he would resume his days as an NRL coach.

He was linked to Wests Tigers at the end of last season and was expected to take on a role at the Dolphins next year.

Green’s death will hit the NRL hard.

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

Green embraces Queensland halfback Daly Cherry-Evans after the Maroons won game three of last year's State of Origin series - his last game as coach

Green embraces Queensland halfback Daly Cherry-Evans after the Maroons won game three of last year’s State of Origin series – his last game as coach

Police were called to Green's family home in Wynnum, in Brisbane's east, just after 10am on Thursday after he was found unresponsive in his garage

Police were called to Green’s family home in Wynnum, in Brisbane’s east, just after 10am on Thursday after he was found unresponsive in his garage

Green has been remembered as a loving husband, father, son and brother

Green has been remembered as a loving husband, father, son and brother

Green is seen playing for the Maroons during the 2001 State of Origin series

Green is seen playing for the Maroons during the 2001 State of Origin series

Cameron Munster, Xavier Coates and Viliame Kikau are among those due to take to the field on Thursday evening – hours after learning of their former coach’s death.

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

He joined dozens of iconic Sharks stars doing a lap of honour around PointsBet Stadium before their match against arch-rivals St George Illawarra for Old Boys Day last Saturday night – appearing in good spirits during a short interview.

‘It’s great to be back,’ Green told Sharks ground announcer Dane Wheeler.

‘It’s a terrific night, great crowd and the weather is good for Shark Park, so let’s hope the footy is great.

‘I’ve had plenty of good memories and it’s great to catch up with all the old boys today, it’s been a ton of laughs and really well done by the club.’

Green was also a part of the Sydney Roosters’ 2002 premiership-winning squad, before finishing his playing days at Parramatta and Brisbane. 

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 .

Paul Green’s career in rugby league

PLAYER 

  • Played 162 first grade games
  • Moved from Brisbane to join Cronulla in 1994, played 95 games for the Sharks
  • Joined the Cowboys in 1999, chalked up 35 appearances
  • Signed with the Roosters where he played 20 games from 2001-2002
  • Joined Parramatta in 2003 playing seven matches
  • Finished his career at the Broncos with five games
  • Represented Queensland in seven Origin games
  • Represented Australia and Queensland in the Super League in late 1990s

COACH 

  • Head coach of the North Queensland Cowboys for 167 games (2014-2020), winning a premiership in 2015
  • Head coach of Queensland in 2021 State of Origin series

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