A shocked Mat Rogers says his former rugby league teammate Paul Green will be remembered as an incredible competitor who never took a backward step.
The rugby league world is in mourning following the sudden death of 49-year-old Green, who was a playing great and premiership-winning coach.
In the video above: Paul Green interview with Channel 7
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Rogers spent the past weekend in Sydney with Green at a Cronulla players reunion, with the pair teammates at the Sharks for three seasons from 1995.
They were roommates in the Queensland Super League representative team in 1997 before spending two years together in the Maroons State of Origin side.
The dual international said he and Green played golf and then sat next to each other to watch the Sharks beat St George Illawarra on Friday night.
“He was telling me about the new boat he’d just bought for the family and I was looking forward to going for a ride.
“I can’t believe he’s gone … it makes me appreciate that time I got to spend with him.”
A former winger, Rogers said halfback Green played well above his diminutive size – standing only 167cm.
“We played together for years and he was just an incredible competitor. There was nothing of him and he just never took a backward step.”
Read the Paul Green family statement below
“Today we are devastated.
“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.
Read the NRL’s full statement below
Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) Chairman Peter V’landys AM today paid tribute to Paul Green, who has passed away.
“Paul was a brilliant player, and then became one of the few to make a very successful transition into coaching,” Mr V’landys said.
“As a player, he represented Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos, and throughout his career had a reputation as a halfback who was as tough as he was skilful. Paul was rewarded with the Rothmans Medal in 1995.
“As a coach he led the North Queensland Cowboys to one of the most famous Grand Final victories of all time – against Brisbane Broncos in 2015.
“He represented Queensland and Australia as a player, and only last year coached the Maroons in the State of Origin series.
“I had the pleasure of sitting on the NRL Competition Committee and found Paul to be a passionate, smart and witty individual. Our condolences go to his family and to his many friends.”
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said: “We are deeply saddened by this loss, and on behalf of the game, I’d like to extend our deepest condolences to Paul’s family, his friends, and those who have been inspired and mentored by him over the course of his long career.”
Read the North Queensland Cowboys’ statement below
Today the North Queensland Cowboys mourn the loss of Premiership winning Head Coach and Cowboy Player #92, Paul Green.
Our deepest and most heartfelt condolences go out to Amanda, their children and the extended Green family, who are in the thoughts of our entire club.
Chairman Lewis Ramsay paid tribute to Paul’s decorated history with the Cowboys and his pivotal impact on the club.
“Paul first came to our club as a player in the late 90s and was the club’s first Origin representative, but his lasting legacy emanated from his seven-season tenure as Head Coach of the North Queensland Cowboys.
“Paul’s arrival as Head Coach transformed our club from finals contenders to an immediate premiership force, culminating in the historic 2015 Grand Final victory.
“We will forever remember Paul as one of the greatest contributors in Cowboys history.”
Read the Sydney Roosters’ statement
The Sydney Roosters are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former player and coach Paul Green.
Green, Rooster #998, played 20 games for the Club between 2001 and 2002 as a halfback, and was a member of the Club’s 2002 Premiership winning squad. A popular member of the squad, Green was an attendee at the Club’s 20th-anniversary celebrations in April and kept a close friendship with many peers.
Green also contributed heavily to the Club’s 2013 Premiership as an assistant coach, and also held a role as head coach for the Club’s National Youth Competition side that season.
The Sydney Roosters wish to extend their heartfelt sympathies to his wife Amanda, his two children Emerson and Jed as well as friends and family at this time.
PAUL GREEN FACT FILE
Age: 49. Born: 12/9/1972
Halfback; played 162 first grade games 1994-2004.
Played 95 games for Cronulla (1994-98), 35 for North Queensland (1999-2000), 20 for Sydney Roosters (2001-02), 7 for Parramatta (2003) and 5 for Brisbane (2004)
Played for Cronulla in 1997 Super League grand final
Represented Queensland in seven State of Origin games 1999-2001.
Played two Super League Tests for Australia 1997
Brisbane Broncos Assistant Coach 2009
Wynnum-Manly Intrust Super Cup 2010-12
Sydney Roosters Holden Cup 2013
Sydney Roosters Assistant NRL coach 2013
Queensland Residents 2012-13
North Queensland 2014-20
Won Intrust Super Cup titles with Wynnum-Manly 2011, 2012
Steered Sydney Roosters Holden Cup team to Finals Series 2013
Took North Queensland to Finals Series 2014-17
Won premiership with North Queensland 2015
Won World Club Championship with North Queensland 2016
Steered North Queensland to Grand Final 2017
NRL Premiership record
167 matches, 87 wins, 80 losses
Win percentage: 52.1%
13 matches, 8 wins, 5 losses
Win percentage: 61.5%
State of Origin record
3 matches, 1 win, 2 losses
– with AAP