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Paul Green: NRL coach’s last appearance at Cronulla Sharks game: ‘Great to be back’

Paul Green’s last public appearance came just days before his shock death – speaking of his ‘good memories’ while attending an NRL game with former teammates.

The death of the legendary NRL figure – 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.

A post-mortem will be carried out to determine his cause of death. Those close to the ex-Cronulla star are devastated and say there was no indication he was ill.

Green 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  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.’

Paul Green’s last public appearance came just days before his shock death – speaking on his ‘good memories’ while attending an NRL game with former teammates on Saturday

Green, who played for Cronulla from 1994 to 1998 and won the 2015 premiership as coach of the North Queensland Cowboys, was found in the garage of his Brisbane home on Thursday.

A Queensland Police spokeswoman said police were called to a Wynnum residence just after 10am on Thursday after a 49-year-old man was located unresponsive.

‘He was declared deceased by emergency crews a short time later,’ she said. ‘There are no suspicious circumstances. A report will be prepared for the Coroner.’

 He leaves behind his wife Amanda and children Jed and Emerson. 

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 starred at halfback for the Sharks 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 leaves behind his wife Amanda (pictured together at the 2017 Dally M Awards) and his children Jed and Emerson

Green leaves behind his wife Amanda (pictured together at the 2017 Dally M Awards) and his children Jed and Emerson

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 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 49-year-old was tragically found dead in the garage of his Brisbane home on Thursday (pictured)

The 49-year-old was tragically found dead in the garage of his Brisbane home on Thursday (pictured)

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 was only in his second year as coach of the North Queensland Cowboys when he guided them to their only premiership in 2015

Green was only in his second year as coach of the North Queensland Cowboys when he guided them to their only premiership in 2015

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

On Thursday night alone Cameron Munster, Xavier Coates and Viliame Kikau were among those due to take to the field just 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 was also a part of the Sydney Roosters’ 2002 premiership-winning squad, before finishing his playing days at Parramatta and Brisbane.

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

‘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.’

His 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.

For help in a crisis call 000. If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636. 

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