As news of their former coach Paul Green’s tragic death spread on Thursday morning, his former North Queensland Cowboys players met up for a “raw and emotional” gathering.
Green is an immortal in Townsville having helped deliver the club its first NRL premiership in 2015, and a number of the Cowboys’ 2015 team met up, according to their co-captain Matt Scott.
Scott admitted that he was still “shaken” as he paid tribute to the beloved coach, who died at just 49.
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“It’s pretty hard to comprehend that it’s actually happened and the fact that he’s gone and the manner in which he went is quite hard to come to terms with,” he told Nine’s NRL Sunday Footy Show.
“A bunch of us caught up Thursday night. Obviously it was still pretty raw and emotional, but we had a few beers, had a good chat and told some stories and remembered a lot of those good times.
Matt Scott, Johnathan Thurston and Paul Green pictured after the 2015 premiership triumph (Getty)
“I’m sure in the weeks to come we’ll probably get together as a bigger group and do it again.”
Scott reminisced on his relationship with Green, who took over the Cowboys in 2014 and instantly transformed the side into a force to be reckoned with, in what was described as “a real sliding doors moment”.
One particular moment with his coach stuck out to the 37-year-old, who played 268 games in Cowboys colours between 2004 and 2019.
“We all had a great relationship with Greeny over a lot of years. There was a main group of us being myself, Johnno (Thurston), Coops (Gavin Cooper) and Greeny, we’d see each other every day and talk to each other a lot, but it was mainly footy,” he said.
Matt Scott celebrates with Johnathan Thurston after the 2015 premiership win (Getty)
“I think it was 2014 I actually ran into him on Hamilton Island and we were both having a break and didn’t know each other were there.
“He was headed out on the boat on the day, he loves his fishing, loves being on the water, and he invited Lauren and I on the boat for the day with his family, which is a testament to the type of bloke he was.
“We had a great day, just talked a lot about family and live in general and didn’t really discuss rugby league all that much. I’ll always remember that day for getting to know Greeny away from footy.”
Green’s genius as a coach was fully realised in 2017 when he took a Cowboys side decimated by injuries to the likes of Scott and Thurston all the way to the grand final.
Having spent a lot of time in the coaches’ box alongside Green while injured, Scott said he gained a greater appreciation for just how good Green was at his job.
Paul Green speaks to his Cowboys after winning the 2015 grand final. (Getty)
“I always had a glimpse of it, especially taking on the co-captain role, but until you actually experience the amount of hours that go into watching vision, cutting up vision, planning for not just the game but the week’s training into it, it was a real eye-opener, it put me off wanting to be a coach, that’s for sure,” he said.
“Greeny being the way he was, he took it to a whole new level, certainly from what I’d seen from coaches over the years.
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“He left no stone unturned, he was always thinking, always planning, and he’d always try and have every circumstance covered.
“He really embraced the region, the lifestyle and the club and I think that’s why so many people in North Queensland and Townsville have fond memories of Greeny. As a club and player in particular, I can’t thank him enough for that.”
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