North Queensland Cowboys' coach Paul Green
North Queensland Cowboys' coach Paul Green Ian Hitchcock

Cowboys' Paul Green inspired by mentor Murray

THE late Graham "Muzz" Murray never got the NRL premiership he deserved but his lasting influence and tutoring could land rookie Cowboys coach Paul Green a grand final victory next month.

One of the most popular figures in rugby league, Murray passed away in July last year after a series of heart attacks aged just 58.

Green soaked up every little snippet of wisdom when he took Wynnum Manly to the first of back-to-back Queensland Cup premierships in 2011 and Murray was the club's chief executive before noted sports physiotherapist Scott Thornton took over the role in 2012 when Green completed the premiership double.

"Muzz always offered me his thoughts but was never offended if I didn't taken them. He wanted me to learn from my mistakes," Green told APN.

"He instilled that confidence in me to trust my judgement and to make decisions you have to make, not take the easy way out."

Murray was the ultimate professional in a 390-game career that included time at the helm of the Illawarra Steelers, Hunter Mariners, Sydney Roosters and Green's current NRL finalist North Queensland.

He also had stints in charge of Leeds Rhinos, Fiji's national side and NSW in six State of Origin games.

Green's time with Murray was invaluable in his progression and while he is the "baby" of the eight finals coaches, his record speaks for itself having been involved in grand finals for the last three years (two wins with Wynnum Manly 2011-12) and last year as assistant to Trent Robinson at the Roosters.

He also coached the Queensland Residents to victory over NSW in 2012.

Thornton, who shared the 2012 Queensland Cup win with Green, knows something about what it takes to be a good coach having been part of Queensland's eight-straight Origin streak as the team's physio.

"Greenie is amazingly dedicated and very meticulous in everything he does, he covers every base," Thornton told APN.

"He's played at the highest level, done it all as a player. He's got a great football brain and he is firm with his players who once they know what is required, respect him.

"I never had any doubts he would make a good coach and he is well on the way in his first year."

Thornton said Green had the ability to one day coach Queensland if and when Mal Meninga decided to step aside.

But, Green's first priority to trying bring down - the club where he ended his 162-game playing career and also worked at as assistant to Wayne Bennett.

A win will take him another step closer to winning the premiership that eluded Murray, the best coach never to win an NRL grand final after losing in 2000 with the Roosters and 2005 with the Cowboys.

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