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Dark clouds hung over the Wynnum Manly Leagues club in Brisbane as mourners arrived Tuesday morning for the funeral and memorial service for NRL great Paul Green.
The coach who won the premiership was found unresponsive at his home in Wynnum in eastern Brisbane on August 11, aged just 49. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.
Grieving people who arrived early for the service included champion ex-Brisbane Broncos players Shane Webcke and Andrew Gee, along with former North Queensland Cowboys boss and current Newcastle Knights football manager Peter Parr.
The Cowboys sent a delegation that included star players Jason Taumalolo, Kyle Feldt and Jake Granville, who, led by Green, won the 2015 NRL Grand Final.
North Queensland stars (left to right) Jake Granville, Jason Taumalolo and Kyle Feldt arrive for the funeral. They all won the grand final of 2015 under the guidance of Green
Brisbane Broncos legend and Green’s close friend Allan Langer arrives at the service at the home of the late coach’s junior team, Wynnum, in east Brisbane
Mourners were greeted by a portrait of Green flanked by Queensland and Cowboys jerseys. He played for and coached both sides during his great career
Green played for Wynnum Manly from junior high until he reached first grade and won two premierships as coach of the Seagulls, so it’s fitting that the service is held at the club’s home ground, Kougari Oval.
The club’s coach, Todd Payten, was also one of the first to arrive, along with Broncos legend Allan Langer, current Brisbane football boss Ben Ikin and Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
Signed Queensland and Cowboys jerseys were placed on either side of a black and white portrait of Green before the ceremony. He played for and coached both sides during his amazing career.
Broncos greats Shane Webcke (left, arms crossed) and Andrew Gee (center) join proceedings and wait for other mourners to arrive
Green leaves behind his wife Amanda (pictured together at the 2015 Dally M Awards) and their children Jed and Emerson
Jason Taumalolo’s teammates Jake Granville and Kyle Feldt help him with his suit before the ceremony begins
Rugby league Immortal Wally Lewis (pictured upcoming) said Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston – who kicked the winning field goal in the 2015 grand final – ‘has not stopped crying’ since Green’s death more than two weeks ago
During his storied playing career, the little halfback played 162 NRL games, mainly for Cronulla, as well as 10 games for Queensland and three Tests for Australia.
He also received the Rothmans Medal (now known as the Dally M) in 1995 for being the best player in the league, despite it being only his second season at the highest level.
A public memorial will be held after the private service on the field of the team’s home ground, Kougari Oval.
Green leaves behind his wife Amanda and children Jed and Emerson.
Before the ceremony kicked off, rugby league Immortal Wally Lewis revealed that Johnathan Thurston – the great North Queensland who kicked the winning field goal in the 2015 grand final – ‘hasn’t stopped crying since the [Green’s death] happened’.
Ben Ikin revealed that Paul Green was one of the most important people he would turn to if he wanted to know what was going on in the sport.
“I think Paul will be remembered as a man who thought deeply, who cared deeply about him and who felt every time you were in his company,” he said.
“Some guys in professional sports are always on their way to the next thing, even when you’re talking to them.
Ben Ikin, the head of football for Brisbane, was one of many football stars from the past and present who arrived to pay their respects – and he revealed that he shared the in-depth conversations he and Green shared about football and life in general. , will miss
“I’ve always felt that when Paul was talking to you, when you were in his company, he wanted to hear what you were thinking, he wanted to hear what you said and he cared about the outcome of the conversation.
“I think it was that part of his character, of his personality that allowed him to inspire a group of young men several times as a coach.
“I’ll miss our chats, that’s a given.
‘We used to go deep, put on the diving gear, we used to say. Go deep about everything in the competition and life.
“He was always someone I could bounce things off, test things against, and get an intelligent answer.
“I know I’m going to miss those moments very much.”