Paul Green 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.
The 49-year-old was found unresponsive at his home in Brisbane after 10am on Thursday. Queensland Police said the circumstances of his death were ‘not suspicious’ and a post-mortem will be carried out.
Green leaves behind his wife Amanda and children Jed and Emerson.
Former North Queensland Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini – who hired Green as coach of the side in 2014 – said he was a ‘broken man’ after hearing the news.
‘I just feel totally devastated, I believe it was his son Jed’s birthday yesterday,’ he told News Corp Australia.
Green’s heartbroken family broke their silence on Thursday afternoon, describing the rugby league legend as a ‘devoted husband, loving father and wonderful brother and son’.
Paul Green 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
Devoted dad: Green is seen with his daughter Emerson and son Jed in this file photo. ‘Today we are devastated,’ the family said in a statement
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
”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.
‘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 Dolphins next year.
He was in Sydney last weekend for a reunion for the Cronulla Sharks, the team he starred at halfback for 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.
Green was a star as both a player and coach, taking out one of the game’s highest honours when he won the Rothmans Medal in 1995
Green was only in his second year as coach of the North Queensland Cowboys when he guided them to their only premiership in 2015
The halfback won the Rothmans Medal in 1995 while playing for Cronulla (pictured) – the team he helped take to the Super League grand final in 1997
The diminutive half played seven State of Origin games for Queensland from 1998 to 2001 and played 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
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
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.
Ex-Cronulla star Martin Lang paid tribute to his good mate after the shocking news broke.
Paul Green’s career in rugby league
- 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
- 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
‘This is so sad. Paul was a close mate, we moved to Sydney together in 1993….the beginning of an outstanding playing/coaching career,’ he wrote.
‘My sincere condolences to Paul’s wife, children and his dear mum and dad. Rest In Peace mate.’
‘We are deeply saddened at the tragic passing of Queenslander and former Bronco, Paul Green,’ the Broncos tweeted.
‘A legend on and off the field gone far too soon.’
Former NRL CEO Todd Greenberg voiced his shock after seeing Green in good spirits recently.
‘So sad to hear of the passing of Paul Green. I enjoyed some time with him recently & he was in great spirits and looking forward to the next phase of his life,’ he wrote.
The Sharks and Cowboys champion’s passing is another shocking loss to the Australian sporting community following the deaths of Australian cricket legends Rod Marsh, Shane Warne and Andrew Symonds – a good friend of Green’s – earlier this year.
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