The Cowboys spoke about former coach Paul Green before their clash against the Roosters at the SCG.
North Queensland wanted to put in a performance worthy of the man who delivered the club the 2015 title, but in the end a 32-18 loss was unavoidable, with most of the team’s big names having a quiet game.
Both sides wore black armbands to remember Green, who was also an assistant to Trent Robinson in 2013 in his first year at the club, taking home the premiership.
READ MORE: ‘Mocked’ All Blacks take down world champions
READ MORE: Wallabies savaged by Pumas after epic All Blacks win
READ MORE: Veteran NRL referee’s shock grand final confession
Green also played 35 games for the Cowboys and 20 for the Roosters during his 162-game playing career.
Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo said there were “no words” to express what he and his teammates were feeling in the wake of their former coach’s shock death.
Green led the Cowboys to premiership victory in 2015, with Taumalolo starting at lock, having been coached by the former representative halfback from 2014 to 2020.
NRL Highlights: Roosters v Cowboys – Round 22
Taumalolo was the only player to take the field on Saturday that was a part of the 2015 grand final team.
And he called for more conversations around mental health no matter “how big or small the problem is”.
“It has been a big few days given what has happened, no real words really to express what has happened over the last few days,” Taumalolo said in the post-match press conference.
“How it has affected people in the rugby league community, and families, I can’t imagine what Amanda and the kids are going through right now.
“Everyone should have someone to talk to, regardless of how big or small the problem is, no one should have to carry around that pressure with them.
“We have a tight-knit group and I know rugby league teams have their own little groups, I just hope that if anyone is going through something they have someone to talk to about any problems.”
Taumalolo admitted the playing group was “shocked and rattled” leading into the match.
“I think everyone copes with loss and grief differently and yeah, I am not sure about any of the other boys but everyone is affected differently.
“I’d like to think we are a tight-knit group and we are able to talk to each other whether we are going through a tough time or something really difficult.
“But again, I think just what has happened has really shocked and rattled most of us and it is going to take some time to get over it.”
Nasty high tackle puts Suaalii on report
Cowboys coach Todd Payten echoed Taumalolo’s message, while thanking the NRL and the club for providing the team with the necessary support.
“The club and the league have been great with the resources they have provided us as a group,” Payten said.
“It is my job to make sure that we keep an eye out for each other, that everyone feels comfortable that they can go and see me or someone within the club to get some help.”
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
Paul Green’s life in pictures: From Sharks prodigy to premiership-winning coach