“Today we are devastated,” Green’s family said in a statement.
“We have lost a devoted husband, loving father and wonderful brother and son. We cannot find the words that would come close to expressing our feelings, however we would like to extend our thanks to those who have reached out to us with their love and support.
“Paul was loved by so many and we know that this news will generate immense interest, however at this time we ask for privacy.
“Our family is still trying to understand this tragedy and we request space and time as we come to terms with this loss. Thank you.”
It has been confirmed he took his own life.
Green delivered the North Queensland Cowboys their first NRL premiership – and Townsville its only State of Origin game.
A 162-game first grader, Green had a fine career as a player with Cronulla, North Queensland, the Roosters, Parramatta and Brisbane.
But arguably his most memorable moment came in the coaches’ box at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium in 2015 as he piloted the Cowboys to their first NRL premiership.
Michael Morgan’s remarkable last-second flick pass for Kyle Feldt’s try, and then Johnathan Thurston’s golden point field goal, delivered North Queensland its first NRL title.
Green’s reaction in the coaches’ box has featured heavily on NRL highlight reels in the seven years since.
The scenes in Townsville have never been seen before as the Cowboys returned to a heroes’ welcome and the party lasted for weeks in the league-mad town.
Despite his two best players in Thurston and Matt Scott being injured, Green coached the Cowboys to another NRL grand final in 2017, where they lost to the Melbourne Storm.
He parted ways with the Cowboys in 2020 following seven years, but Green wasn’t done with bringing joy to Townsville.
On the day of his death, it can be revealed that Green was the key figure in Townsville hosting a State of Origin game for the first time in 2021.
As Covid ripped through the eastern seaboard last winter, it was becoming increasingly unlikely that the MCG would be able to host Game One of the series.
The NRL started to become nervous about the match and Green – preparing for his first series as Queensland coach – sensed an opportunity to deliver Townsville a piece of Origin history.
“He was the one that was most instrumental in getting that game to Townsville,” QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher recalled.
“He was very passionate about north Queensland.
“Rob Moore (formerly QRL CEO), Paul and I were in the back of a cab going to a meeting and he said ‘you guys haven’t done enough to get Origin to Townsville, this is the perfect opportunity’.
“I texted the Premier (Annastacia Palaszczuk) and said we have to get active on this. She replied within 20 seconds and said ‘great idea’.
“The rest is history. It’s remarkable, everything else flowed from his push for it. That was Greeny.
“The odds are we won’t see another Origin game in Townsville.
“He had a passion for the game and state. He lived the values.”
On the back of Green’s push and with the help of the Queensland Government, the first game of the 2021 Origin series was played at a sold-out Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville.
The Maroons suffered a 50-6 defeat but the town has never seen such excitement and was abuzz in the days and hours leading up to the match.
Green’s only series in charge of the Maroons was littered with injuries and controversies out of his control, such as the Ronaldo Mulitalo eligibility scandal and Jai Arrow’s Covid breach.
He managed to save Queensland from a 3-0 defeat with a win on the Gold Coast in the final match of the series and Hatcher said Green cherished his opportunity to coach his beloved Maroons, who he played seven Origin matches for.
“His approach to Origin was exemplary. He was a very well-planned coach but all of our Queensland teams were in the bottom half of the NRL last year,” Hatcher said.
“He inherited a shit sandwich and it got worse. Nothing went right. Our key position players weren’t playing well and a lot of players were injured.
“We had so much adversity but he took the job on and did it. We won the third game against incredible odds.
“He was very appreciative that he got the opportunity and was honest enough to say he really wanted to coach fulltime in the NRL again so he couldn’t commit to a longer contract.
“We had lunch in March-April this year and talked about a lot of things around football, life and business – he had everything going for him.
“He contacted me two weeks ago about some things he was doing. We had seen each other at a few functions.
“I am totally shocked and very emotional. I just can’t believe it.”
‘I haven’t stopped crying’: Wendell’s glowing tribute, Thurston shattered
Wendell Sailor played alongside Paul Green for Queensland and said he was devastated by the news.
“I just started crying,” Sailor said on Triple M.
“I played Origin with Greeny, my last Origin was with Greeny. He was one of those blocks you were always happy to see. A typical cheeky halfback.
“I have to be honest – I haven’t stopped crying all afternoon. I am heartbroken. I actually called JT (Johnathan Thurston) on the way out.
“He took the call. I said can you believe it? He goes I just don’t know what to say. I want to celebrate such a great man but it is so raw.
“He was tough. He was good on the sledge too. Anything he did, he was competitive. He was that all-round talented guy, but also that guy who didn’t have any enemies.
“I don’t want to be sad. I want to celebrate a great human.”
Johnathan Thurston is said to be shattered.
Thurston had flown down to Sydney to commentate on Thursday night’s game between Penrith and the Melbourne Storm for Channel 9 but was too devastated by the news and flew straight back to Townsville.
“Our mate Johnathan Thurston was meant to be with us here,” host James Bracey said on the Channel 9 broadcast.
“We send our condolences to JT, who’s hurting.”
Former Cronulla and Queensland teammate Mat Rogers said he was shocked to hear of after spending several days with Green last week.
Green appeared in great spirits, revealing to Rogers he had just bought a boat for his family to enjoy while the pair played 18 holes at the New South Wales Golf Course.
“I can’t believe it,” Rogers told Nine news. “I’d just spent the past few days in Sydney with Greenie, played NSW Golf Course together … he was telling me about the new boat he bought for him and his family to enjoy and get out on the water.”
NRL rocked by sudden death of Paul Green
The rugby league world is mourning the sudden death of premiership-winning coach Paul Green.
The 49-year-old passed away at his Brisbane home on Thursday morning.
Friends have been left shocked and devastated by his passing.
He had been regularly mentioned as a coaching option at a number of NRL clubs this season, and was on track to make a comeback in 2023.
The news comes just three months after the tragic death of his close friend, former Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds, which rocked the wider sporting community.
Green was in Sydney only last weekend for the Cronulla Sharks reunion.
Green played for Cronulla, North Queensland, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta and Brisbane, winning the Rothmans Medal in 1995.
He was Queensland State of Origin and Australian international representative halfback. As a coach Green guided the Cowboys to their first premiership in 2015.
He last coached Queensland’s State of Origin side in 2021.
Green is survived by wife Amanda and children Emerson and Jed.
Queensland police released a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“Police were called to a Wynnum residence just after 10am this morning after a 49-year-old was located unresponsive,” a Queensland police spokeswoman said.
“He was declared deceased by emergency crews a short time later.
“There are no suspicious circumstances. A report will be prepared for the coroner.”
NRL PAYS TRIBUTE TO PASSIONATE, SMART AND WITTY GREEN
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys paid tribute to Green on Thursday afternoon.
“Paul was a brilliant player, and then became one of the few to make a very successful transition into coaching,” V’landys said.
“As a player, he represented Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos, and throughout his career had a reputation as a halfback who was as tough as he was skilful. Paul was rewarded with the Rothmans Medal in 1995.
“As a coach he led the North Queensland Cowboys to one of the most famous Grand Final victories of all time – against Brisbane Broncos in 2015.
“He represented Queensland and Australia as a player, and only last year coached the Maroons in the State of Origin series.
“I had the pleasure of sitting on the NRL Competition Committee and found Paul to be a passionate, smart and witty individual. Our condolences go to his family and to his many friends.”
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo added : “We are deeply saddened by this loss, and on behalf of the game, I’d like to extend our deepest condolences to Paul’s family, his friends, and those who have been inspired and mentored by him over the course of his long career.”
GREEN’S FINAL PUBLIC APPEARANCE AT SHARK PARK
Smiling and excited, Paul Green mingled with his closest footy mates dating back 25 years on Saturday night.
At Cronulla’s Pointbet Stadium for the Sharks annual Old Boys Day, Green, who represented the club between 1994 and 1998, was applauded as he and his former teammates performed a lap of honour.
“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.”
Elsewhere, former Melbourne Storm and Maroons hooker Cameron Smith reacted to the “shocking news” live on air on SEN Radio on Thursday.
“It’s a sad day for everyone involved in the rugby league family and community. We send our best wishes and condolences out to the entire Green family,” Smith said.