Paul Green dead at 49: Peter Overton makes desperate Channel 9 News plea

Nine News presenter Peter Overton has issued a desperate message to Australians following the tragic death of rugby league icon Paul Green.

The 49-year-old was found dead at his Brisbane home on Thursday morning, the day after his son’s ninth birthday. It has been confirmed he took his own life.

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“Today we are devastated,” Green’s family said in a statement on Thursday morning.

“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 feeling, 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.”

Green’s death comes 11 months after he was sacked as head coach of the Maroons following Queensland’s loss in last year’s State of Origin series, which included a 50-6 win for the Blues.

Speaking during Thursday evening’s 6pm bulletin, Overton encouraged viewers to speak up about their mental health.

“If you are struggling with your mental health, please talk to someone,” he started. “Ask, ‘Are you OK?’

“Take a friend for a coffee, a walk; confide in your GP.

“Share your feelings with your family.

“Just talk to someone. You might be surprised how many people you know have the same struggles.

“You are not alone.

“One of the best places you can call is Lifeline. They are there to listen, they are there to help.”

Radio presenter Gus Worland, founder of mental health charity Gotcha4Life, spoke to Channel 9 about the importance of mental strength among Australian men.

“It was so sad to hear this morning about Greeny,” he said on Thursday evening.

“This is a line in the sand moment for us as sport and us as a nation to say, ‘Enough is enough’.

“Let’s stop talking about awareness, let’s put some action into place.

“It’s all about manning up and speaking up now, Not manning up and shutting up, which is what we’ve been told all our lives to do.

“This is an opportunity to build some emotional muscle, put you hand up if you need some help and support. That’s the bravest thing you can do.

“Why are we so good in this country at helping people, but not good at asking for help?

“It’s so brave to be vulnerable.”

Green led the North Queensland Cowboys to their first ever premiership in 2015 and was in charge of the team until the end of 2020, when he was replaced by Todd Payten. He was linked to an NRL return and recently had held talks with Wayne Bennett about joining the Dolphins, who enter the competition next season.

The talented halfback played 95 times for the Sharks, as well as turning out for the Cowboys, Roosters, Eels and Broncos.

Former Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini told News Corpthat Green seemed fine three days ago when he spoke to him to say they should catch up for a beer soon.

But Lancini did say “the last few years had been tough on” Green.

“Greeny mentioned he was keen to coach again and had some options and I asked Greeny if he really wanted to go back into it again,” Lancini said.

“I said to Paul, the last club you coached, you took the Cowboys to the premiership and you took us to two grand finals. Just leave coaching behind and do something else.

“But Greeny still had that real drive. He wanted to coach again.

“Greeny has come from a position where he coached a club to a premiership and a second grand final. He has coached State of Origin. He has coached at the highest levels and I think Greeny was a bit lost and confused about where his life needed to be without coaching.

“The thing about Greeny is he was a high achiever and high achievers always want to be achieving something.

“The last few years have been a bit tough on him because he hasn’t been coaching in the NRL.

“I said to Greeny, just take your time and the right opportunity will come along.”

Last week, Wallabies captain Michael Hooper withdrew from Australia’s Rugby Championship opener against Argentina and returned home due to personal reasons.

“While this decision did not come easily I know it is the right one for me and the team at this point in time,“ he said in a statement.

“My whole career I’ve looked to put the team first and I don’t feel I am able to fulfil my responsibilities at the moment in my current mindset.”

And on Wednesday, Australian cricket captain Meg Lanning announced she was taking indefinite leave from the game, effective immediately.

“After a busy couple of years, I’ve made the decision take a step back to enable me to spend time focusing on myself,” she said in the statement.

“I’m grateful for the support of CA and my teammates and ask that my privacy is respected during this time.”

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