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Paul Green dead at 49, Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns tributes to North Queensland Cowboys 2015 grand final coach

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The rugby league world has come together to pay tribute to champion player and coach Paul Green, who died suddenly at the age of 49.

The 1995 Rothmans Medal winner turned out to be one of the NRL’s most astute modern coaches, taking the reins of North Queensland in 2014 and leading the club to its maiden premiership a year later.

That 2015 title is at the forefront of many memories as people reflect on the man who finally brought the coveted Provan-Summons trophy to Townsville.

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Michael Morgan’s flick pass to Kyle Feldt, followed by Johnathan Thurston’s conversion attempt hitting the upright, then the champion halfback nailing a field goal in extra-time to win the grand final are pictures that will live forever in the game’s folklore.

It is undoubtedly the crowning moment of Green’s coaching career.

Paul Green chats to former Roosters teammate Brad Fittler. (Getty)

But Brad Fittler reckons there was a Green feat that matched, if not surpassed, that 2015 glory.

It was 18 months after the victorious grand final when North Queensland looked down and out, losing Thurston to a shoulder injury midway through the 2017 season.

Stream the NRL premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now

With the four-time Dally M Medallist on the sideline it was expected the Cowboys would limp their way to the finish line and regroup for the following season.

They managed to finish eighth on the ladder. Then, with Morgan and Te Maire Martin in the halves, Green’s men made an astonishing finals run to make it all the way to the big dance, stunning the NRL. They lost the decider 34-6 to Melbourne, but got within reach of what seemed to be the impossible.

NRL rocked by sudden death of Paul Green

“Everyone is going to remember the year (Cowboys) won, but I thought 2017 was one of the greatest coaching efforts ever,” Fittler said on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth.

“Bringing that team through, watching Michael Morgan and (Jason) Taumalolo drag that team to a final.”

Fittler played with Green at the Roosters. The pint-sized halfback was unfortunate to miss the 2002 season through injury, when the Chooks won the premiership.

“I saw him earlier this year at the (Roosters) 2002 (premiership) reunion. Greeny would have been the halfback, but he did his knee in the first game in the year we won the comp,” Fittler recalled.

Johnathan Thurston, Paul Green, and Gavin Cooper chat after losing the 2017 grand final to Melbourne. (Getty)

“He did some great things as a player, a very intelligent player. He’s not a big bloke so pretty courageous.

“Away from footy (he was a) good fella, great fun, great company. He’s going to be sorely missed.”

Andrew Johns was almost lost for words when trying to pay tribute to Green.

“I can’t believe it. I really can’t believe it,” Johns said.

“Really sad when you think he’s left behind a couple of kids. It’s just terrible.”

Green is survived by his wife Amanda and two children.

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Paul Green’s life in pictures: From Sharks prodigy to premiership-winning coach

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Source by [Livezstream.com]

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