Former rugby league stars Gordon Tallis and Corey Parker and current Wests Tigers prop James Tamu have paid emotional tributes to Paul Green after the legendary player and coach died on Thursday at the age of 49.
Corey Parker played at minor-half for the Brisbane Broncos in 2004, before Green became the club’s assistant coach for the 2006 Cup-winning season.
Parker Green, who starred for Brisbane that season, fought back tears as he spoke about the impact on his life and career.
Parker told Fox League: “It’s a really sad day for rugby league and anyone in the rugby league community who has been touched in some way by Paul Green and what he’s been able to do.” He was many things to many people.
“To me personally, Greenie was a teammate, he was a coach, and most of all, he was a great and wonderful friend. My deepest condolences to Amanda, (sons) Emerson and Jade, and their families.”
“Greene was one of those people – it’s hard to put into words the raw emotion the rugby league world feels about Paul Greene at the moment.
“To me, Greenie was your witty, funny, sensitive, caring person who found a way to meet your needs no matter what the situation.
“Greenie was incredibly smart about his mind, about rugby league, and that has been well-spoken in recent hours.
“It’s a very sad time… It’s so sad to think that one of our own will no longer be with you.
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He added that Green’s old Brisbane team had a cheeky nickname for the pint-sized coach.
“Greenie had a lot of nicknames — he was the guy on the team who liked to be funny and the cool guy,” Parker said. “You’d love to have a beer with Greenie, and most people who know Greenie have a great story about Paul Green beer.
He wasn’t the biggest man and was probably shorter than Alf (Alfie Langer). We had a nickname for Greenie, at one point we called him Tugboat. It wasn’t a ship, it was a small ship, and we called it Tuggy! He didn’t like it.
But for us guys, especially being trained by him, we really enjoyed that time. He was someone you liked to sit around and chat with. He had a very kind heart and an intelligent mind about rugby league – but outside of rugby league he was incredibly intelligent.
Tamu, who was coached by Green at the North Queensland Cowboys – including in the 2016 premiership – has joined the flood of tributes.
“Thanks for having me, I jumped at the chance to pay tribute to Paul Green and his family,” Tamu said on Fox League.
“He was one of the first to bring a psychiatrist to the team. He was ahead of his time.
“It was very emotional. He was loyal and competitive.
“I’ve only heard what he’s done as a player, and you can feel that emotion and competitiveness as a coach.
“These are high human values of the highest order.
“It’s very sad. I just feel for the family. But it makes me think of the good times he had and the great man he was.
“The players always came to him,” Tamu added.
“100 percent of the players came first. He would get the best of you. His honesty was one of the best things about him.
“That brought the best out of all of us that year. I could have gone through that team and we had the same year two years before it started in 2014 – it brought that team together.”
“I still remember the headlines back then that the Cowboys had the team on paper but couldn’t get past the first round of the playoffs.
“Then Paul Green came along and brought North Queensland their first premiership. Just talking about it gives me goosebumps.
That’s how he carried himself as a person and as a coach and I’m sure I read it as a player.
Gordon Tallis first met Green when he moved to Sydney in 1994 and they struck up a friendship as Queenslanders away from home. They had many battles on the field before playing together in the representative teams.
Tallis told Fox League: “What I remember is, as a skinny little kid from Townsville, I went in and met a guy like Paul Green (Sydney) who had a career. He was a young star in Sydney. He was winning all the awards there.
“Being a Queenslander, he took me under his wing. Him and Knuckles (Craig Greenhill). So the Dragons and the Cronulla boys would be there for a while.
“When he came back and played in Brisbane (2004) our careers got mixed up and we played some representative footy. I think I played with him for Australia, we played seven games together for Queensland.
“He was always one of those guys who lit up every time he walked into the dressing room.
“He’s got a big smile, and like all half-backs, he always has something to say. Too soon, too missed. It’s a very sad day.”
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Remember Tallis was in the 2015 Grand Final when he coached the Green Cowboys to a proud victory over the Broncos.
“That game, being a North Queenslander and watching your club play Brisbane. “I think looking at how North Queensland got their soul back that day,” Tallis said.
They played a lot of great games against Brisbane and they couldn’t beat them, and being in that game at the time, one of the grand finals, one of the grand finals – I was working there. And I had to go for an interview but I was nervous, I couldn’t get anything!
“Greenie will always be remembered in North Queensland to see those scenes. There can only be one coach to win your first final and Paul Green.
He wanted to help people… I think playing with Greeny now, you think back, he was always training – as soon as you go out, it’s always like: ‘Let’s try this, let’s do this, let’s do that, I think this will work, I think we can do this. .
“You looked for him in your hole.”
Fox League’s Greg Alexander and Jessica Yates share their experiences with the NRL icon.
“I played on it and had a little relationship with Greene here at Fox,” Alexander said.
After his retirement, he spent 2005 in the advisory group.
“I didn’t know Paul as a player, but I noticed Paul as a player because he proved that rugby league, no matter how big or small, is a great game.
“He may be small in stature, but that didn’t stop him from making a big impact on the game. He was a great player. I really enjoyed watching him play for the Sharks.
“49 is too young.”
Jessica Yates said: “I first met Greenie when I was 16 and he was involved with my family.
“At the time I wanted to pursue a career in broadcast journalism and he was working at Fox Sports.
I told him about my interest and he generously offered to introduce me to some of the executives here at Fox Sports.
“He shouldn’t have done that. We had a meeting and that’s what inspired me to pursue my career at Fox Sports and sports journalism.
“He wasn’t the only person we saw in rugby league. What we saw outside of the game was a spirit of generosity; I think he blew this.
“You only have to look at the local community in Winium to see the impact it has had.
“He went the extra mile for his dear friends. One of his friends was suffering from an illness and Paul Green rallied his troops by going above and beyond to raise money for his medical bills to support him not only financially but emotionally.
“He would always bring everyone together to be there. Mateship was very important to him.”
“I am forever grateful to Paul for taking the time to help a young journalist. To encourage me to pursue my love of the game.