Wayne Bennett has revealed how he'd offered Paul Green an assistant coaching role at the Dolphins next season just three weeks before his tragic death.
Green was found unresponsive at his Brisbane home on Thursday, with police saying there are no suspicious circumstances in his death.
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The 49-year-old is being remembered as a brilliant player and coach, who famously led the North Queensland Cowboys to their maiden premiership in 2015.
Green coached the Cowboys for 167 games from 2014 to 2020, before he left the role and became coach of the Queensland State of Origin team in 2021.
Speaking about Green's death on Thursday, Bennett said he was in negotiations for the 49-year-old to join the Dolphins next year as an assistant coach for the Redcliffe-based club's inaugural season in the NRL.
“He made a great contribution and he had a lot of coaching in front of him,” Bennett said on Triple M radio.
“I offered him a position at the Dolphins in the last three weeks. Three weeks ago now we were in negotiations at the time.
“I think he was keen to come, but we were just trying to work out a contract for him. That’s how much I thought of him.”
Green took over from Bennett as Queensland coach in 2021, but he only last one year in the role after the Maroons' series loss.
“I was watching him from afar and I certainly was close to him in the Origin last year and I kept in contact with him there when he got the job,” Bennett said.
“I knew there was a bit of a challenge there in front of him. I spoke to him on a number of occasions.
“I didn’t want to see him out of coaching. I just think he had too much to offer.
“I thought if I could help him get back into coaching by coming to the Dolphins it would have made us a pretty formidable coaching team with him there.
“I saw it as a way back into the NRL for him if he wanted to do that.
“I wasn’t sure he was busting to get back there because it is a pretty cruel place at times and you have a lot of disappointment and the Origin series would have hurt enormously because there is so much expectation there.
“There’s never been a Queensland coach that hasn’t felt that expectation and I know he would have.
“I saw it as a way for him to come and spend a couple of years with us and go back as a head coach somewhere.”
Bennett was Green's direct counterpart when the Cowboys beat the Broncos in the 2015 grand final.
“I can’t say I was pleased for him at the time, but I can say I am pleased for him today,” Bennett said.
“I genuinely mean that. He did a great job up there. He left in a situation that I’m sure he wouldn’t have liked. None of us enjoy that part of it.
“But it comes with the job and you have to go with the blows and he handled that pretty good.”
Paul Green 'lost and confused' before tragic death
Speaking later on Thursday, former Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini said he believes Green was 'lost and confused' in the lead-up to his death.
“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 told News Corp.
“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."
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