NRL legend Paul Green dead at 49: Cause of former rugby league player’s death

Premiership-winning NRL coach Paul Green’s sudden death aged 49 at his Brisbane home has stunned the rugby league community.

A post-mortem will be carried out to determine the cause of Green’s sudden death, according to the Courier Mail.

A Queensland police spokeswoman said: “Police were called to a Wynnum residence just after 10am this morning after a 49-year-old was located unresponsive.

“He was declared deceased by emergency crews a short time later. There are no suspicious circumstances. A report will be prepared for the coroner.”

Friends were left shocked by the news, particularly given he had flown down to Sydney just last weekend for the Cronulla Sharks reunion and had made no complaints about being ill.

Friends also said Green was in perfect health and up to date with health checks before his death. News.com.au understands his recent health checks came back all clear.

Green played for a decade at the top level with stints at the Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos. He also played seven State of Origin matches for Queensland, and two Tests for Australia during the tumultuous Super League war of the 1990s.

But it was Green’s turn as a coach which left his biggest legacy on the NRL, leading the Cowboys to the club’s first premiership in 2015 and another grand final in 2017.

After leaving the Cowboys in 2020, Green was appointed coach of the Maroons in 2021 but lost that year’s series to NSW 2-1.

He quit at the end of the series and was replaced by Billy Slater.

Green was still in NRL coaching calculations, often linked to vacancies at several clubs. He was set to make his comeback to coaching on Wayne Bennett’s staff in the Dolphins’ inaugural season next year.

Green is survived by wife Amanda and children Emerson and Jed.

The rugby league world was quick to pay tribute Green. The game’s most capped player Cameron Smith was stunned as the news filtered through.

“It’s very sad news,” Smith told SEN 1170’s The Captain’s Run.

“He was a premiership coach of course with the North Queensland Cowboys in 2015.

“It’s a very sad day for all involved with the rugby league family and the rugby league community, and we send our condolences out to the entire Green family.”

Ex-NRL star Denan Kemp said it hit close to home for him as he was coached by Green.

“I was fortunate enough, he was my kicking and catching coach when I was coming through at the Broncos and he was also my coach when I was at Wynnum,” he said.

“I had a small amount to do with him but in the time I did, it was actually really interesting the year I was at Wynnum I ended up signing with another club to leave but we had a really tough start to the season. Greeny managed to turn the Wynnum Seagulls around and we won the premiership that year.

“He’s a fighter. It’s a very sad day to see Greeny go like that.”

Broadcaster Ray Hadley was stunned by the news, saying: “I’m just absolutely stunned, Paul Green has passed away tragically. Just terrible, absolutely terrible.”

Former teammate Martin Lang also paid tribute.

“This is so sad,” he tweeted. “Paul was a close mate, we moved to Sydney together in 1993….the beginning of an outstanding NRL playing/coaching career. My sincere condolences to Paul’s wife, children and his dear mum and dad. Rest In Peace mate.”

Current North Queensland halfback Chad Townsend posted on Twitter: “RIP Paul Green. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”

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