North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green celebrates a major milestone against the Warriors. Picture: Evan Morgan
North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green celebrates a major milestone against the Warriors. Picture: Evan Morgan

Green reveals his biggest motivation

IN six years Paul Green has taken the Cowboys to another level, cementing the club as an NRL powerhouse. But it is the small moments along the way that have made the difference.

 

TWO Nines titles, two grand finals and a maiden premiership but among it all it has been the unseen moments that have meant the most to Paul Green.

The Cowboys coach will head up to the coaches box for his 162nd game in charge tonight, surpassing the late Graham Murray as the club's most-capped head coach.

He has been the most successful coach in the club's 25-year history, and the only one to have a winning rate above 50 per cent. But it is not the on-field glory, or the milestone achievements, that has driven the former player.

It is the personal milestones of his own men, the growth off the field, that Green said he had been "privileged" to be part of.

NRL; North Queensland Cowboys pre season training at Townsville Football Stadium. Head Coach Paul Green. Picture: Alix Sweeney
NRL; North Queensland Cowboys pre season training at Townsville Football Stadium. Head Coach Paul Green. Picture: Alix Sweeney

"There has been lots of highlights (in my time) and it is not just about the big games you win," he said.

"Giving guys their debuts. The last two weeks giving Tommy Gilbert his debut, that was a really special moment for him and this week it is Hamiso (Tabuai-Fidow).

"When you get to tell those kids they have been picked in the team, and they will make their debut, they are really great moments because you are sharing a really special moment for someone you coach.

"For me that is really why you do coach, to try to help them. To use the experience I have had as a player.

"I have been in the game for pretty much my whole life, so I try to help them as much as I can. That is why I decided to coach in the first place. Those are the really rewarding parts along the way.

Coach Paul Green with Michael Morgan at the final North Queensland Cowboys training for 2019 at 1300Smiles Stadium. PICTURE: Matt Taylor
Coach Paul Green with Michael Morgan at the final North Queensland Cowboys training for 2019 at 1300Smiles Stadium. PICTURE: Matt Taylor

"You know how hard guys work to get an NRL game. To play one is a huge achievement. To play a part in that is really good.

"You see boys grow into men, become husbands and fathers, and you hope in some small way you have been able to help along the way.

"I always said when I was a player, whenever I clicked with a coach, my life was always better on and off the field. I always played better and life away from the footy was better and I always thought the coach played a part in that. That is another big reason why I try to do that for the young blokes I am working with now."

Coach Paul Green . NRL; North Queensland Cowboys training at 1300Smiles Stadium. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Coach Paul Green . NRL; North Queensland Cowboys training at 1300Smiles Stadium. Picture: Alix Sweeney

While that may be the philosophical reason behind his coaching, there is no denying the competitive streak is alive and well in the 47-year-old mentor.

From his early playing days in the Brisbane Rugby League where he won the Rothman's Medal with Easts Tigers in 1993 through to his seven games for Queensland, Green has always had the drive to be successful on the field.

It has been that drive, and the mix of intelligence, that has seen success follow him into his coaching career.

Green took childhood club Wynnum-Manly to back-to-back Queensland Cup titles, before being an assistant to Trent Robinson when the Roosters clinched the 2013 premiership. The next year he was at the Cowboys.

Paul Green during his playing days for the Cowboys in the 1999 NRL season.
Paul Green during his playing days for the Cowboys in the 1999 NRL season.

It was a bold move for the Cowboys to take a punt on an untried coach, one the club's director of football Peter Parr believes has paid off in spades.

"We went through a really thorough process at the time. It was a really tough decision because we had some outstanding candidates at the time, Paul included," Parr said.

"For the panel, we thought his communication and the way he explained things was really good.

"The one thing I will say about Paul, even from that interview process, was that he has great clarity when he talks about anything but especially football. You never leave a conversation with him confused. Obviously it was a decision we certainly don't regret.

 

Cowboys coach Paul Green and Cowboys director of football Peter Parr discuss tactics on the side of the field at 1300SMILES Stadium. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Cowboys coach Paul Green and Cowboys director of football Peter Parr discuss tactics on the side of the field at 1300SMILES Stadium. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

"There is no doubt he brought in his own standards and his own way of doing things.

"He took over a squad who had a lot of talent and had already been well coached by Neil Henry and already had good principles around the way they played and trained … but he took that group and the club to another level. And we will be indebted to him about that."

But according to Green, he is the lucky one in the relationship.

He got to come back to a club, to a community, he thought he owed something to.

It was a community he felt he had a special connection to, with his wife Amanda raised in the Burdekin and his own family not far away. But more importantly it was a community that loved its football club.

Cowboys coach Paul Green (left) celebrates with the team in the sheds after clinching the club’s maiden premiership in 2015. Pics Adam Head
Cowboys coach Paul Green (left) celebrates with the team in the sheds after clinching the club’s maiden premiership in 2015. Pics Adam Head

"As a player or a coach you have an opportunity to contribute to (the community).

"I wasn't happy with the contribution I made as a player up here for different reasons. For me I was lucky enough to get a second chance because I understand how important the club and footy is not only to Townsville, but to the whole of North Queensland," he said.

"I am privileged to be able to help contribute to that because we are a bit different to other franchises in the way we impact a much broader part of the community and in many other ways.

Johnathan Thurston and Paul Green after winning the 2015 NRL Grand Final between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium, Sydney. Pics Adam Head
Johnathan Thurston and Paul Green after winning the 2015 NRL Grand Final between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium, Sydney. Pics Adam Head

"I think we have grown to become (part of the North Queensland fabric). That was the intention at the start, but in the early years we did it pretty tough on the field and I am not sure we had the same impact as we are having now.

"We have grown into that and that is because of the hard work of a lot of people. I am just the one in the chair at the moment, but there is plenty of others in the club that contribute equally to that. I feel lucky to have the job I do."

Originally published as Green reveals his biggest motivation



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