Call for more support for NRL coaches as ‘best dad’ farewelled

Paul Green the pilot, violinist, Harvard graduate, rugby league champion and “best dad ever” has been celebrated by hundreds on the ground he first announced himself as a coach.

Aug 30, 2022, updated Aug 30, 2022
The public funeral service for former Queensland coach and NRL premiership player Paul Green at Kougari Oval in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

The public funeral service for former Queensland coach and NRL premiership player Paul Green at Kougari Oval in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

Green, who died at his Brisbane home on August 11, won Queensland Cup premierships with Wynnum Manly in 2011 and 2012.

The former Queensland State of Origin half and a best and fairest in both the BRL and NSWRL went on to coach North Queensland to a maiden NRL premiership.

Many of those the 49-year-old played for, with and against along the way gathered at Wynnum’s Kougari Oval on Tuesday to farewell their mate.

John Lang, Brad Fittler, Trent Robinson, Andrew Ettingshausen, Anthony Minichiello, Steve Renouf, Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuqiri, Luke Ricketson, Todd Payten, Neil Henry, Brad Thorn, Kevin Walters and even AFL great Leigh Matthews all attended.

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson renewed his push to create more support for coaches’ wellbeing after farewelling one of his star pupils.

Robinson said he had been working since 2016 to create a coach-specific, independent body to support active and inactive NRL mentors.

“Greeny and I spoke a lot about it over the years but it’s just not in place at the moment,” he said.

“It hasn’t quite come to fruition because of finances and differences in opinion of how the structure could be.

“It needs to be there in some form very quickly … that’s our future.”

Johnathan Thurston and many more of Green’s 2015 premiership side also paid their respects, while Green’s casket did a final lap of the oval to complete the ceremony.

And while his footballing genius, as both a player and coach, was lauded it was his qualities as a father and exploits elsewhere that his family and friends reflected on.

“He had that capability of captivating people, whoever his audience,” wife Amanda Green told the audience.

“I could honestly talk about him all day, every day.

“I knew from that moment (I met him) there was something special about this man … intelligent, engaging, cheeky and so much fun.

“He truly was the most amazing husband, who I’m going to miss dearly.

“We had the deepest love and happiest marriage … I loved you yesterday, I love you today and I’ll love you forever.”

Son Jed remembered the bonfires and fishing trips and said he was the “best dad ever” while daughter Emerson said her father taught her not to worry about what other people thought of her.

“If there was any music playing I could count on my dad to pull me onto the dancefloor,” she said.

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Good friend Mark Beitz said Green was the “smartest man I ever met, in so many ways”.

A qualified pilot, Green was also a capable violinist, excellent student and recent Harvard Business School graduate.

“You’ve been taken way too early but what you did in 49 years, most of us won’t do in many lifetimes,” Beitz said.

He said loyalty, perfectionism, intelligence, determination, self belief and fun were the themes he lived by.

“Holy Moly he had self belief at the highest level … you were one of a kind.”

Robinson said the lack of understanding around the job of NRL coach had been problematic.

“It’s a wonderful job and we take with it the good and the bad and understand that role,” he said.

“Sixteen of us are doing it and Greeny did it for so long.

“When it’s finished they (outsiders) just think their team didn’t win enough or their time was up. They don’t know how to support when it’s done and we have to better at that.”

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