Paul Green’s family is still coming to terms with the footy legend’s passing and revealed plans for a celebration of his life.
The 49-year-old rugby league great was found dead at his Brisbane home on Thursday morning. It has been confirmed he took his own life.
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The rugby league world was shocked by the news, sparking an immediate outpouring of grief from former teammates, friends, and the entire sporting community.
Paul Green’s brother Rick told The Sunday Mail the family had come together to plan a public funeral, expected to be held August 23 or 30 at Kougari Oval, the home of the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls, a team Green both played with and coached to premiership glory.
But Rick also revealed the family was struggling to come to terms with the enormous loss.
“Everyone is feeling overwhelmed,” Rick told The Sunday Mail.
“There’s certainly a lot of stories that we’re sharing about our times with Paul but as we reflect on those good times, there’s a great sadness at his passing.
“It’s still very raw and difficult to process.”
The family had earlier released a statement after the news broke of Green’s death.
“Today we are devastated,” the statement began.
“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.”
As the rugby league community continues to grapple with the enormous loss of the two-time Rothman Medal winner, Cowboys premiership winning coach and 2021 Queensland State of Origin mentor’s passing, a conversation has been sparked about mental health in the sport.
Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes was heavily praised for his comments after his side’s win over the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.
For others, including the likes of former Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston, who, with Green, orchestrated the 2015 North Queensland premiership win, the loss was too much.
Thurston was scheduled to commentate on Channel 9 on Thursday night but after landing in Sydney and learning of the news, he returned immediately to Townsville.
Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo, who is the only player to take the field on Saturday that played in the 2015 grand final team, shared his shock after his side’s 32-18 loss to the Roosters on Saturday.
He also pleaded with people to speak out no matter “how big or small the problem is”.
“It has been a big few days given what has happened, no real words really to express what has happened over the last few days,” Taumalolo said in the post-match press conference.
“How it has affected people in the rugby league community, and families, I can’t imagine what Amanda and the kids are going through right now.
“Everyone should have someone to talk to, regardless of how big or small the problem is, no one should have to carry around that pressure with them.
“We have a tight-knit group and I know rugby league teams have their own little groups, I just hope that if anyone is going through something they have someone to talk to about any problems.
“I think everyone copes with loss and grief differently and yeah, I am not sure about any of the other boys but everyone is affected differently.
“I’d like to think we are a tight-knit group and we are able to talk to each other whether we are going through a tough time or something really difficult.
“But again, I think just what has happened has really shocked and rattled most of us and it is going to take some time to get over it.”