Green's GF experience to boost Cowboys
When it comes to grand finals, there is a lot more experience in the Brisbane side than the Cowboys – both in the playing and coaching ranks – but don't think that fazes North Queensland coach Paul Green in the slightest.
Speaking at Thursday's Grand Final press conference, Green bristled at a suggestion the Broncos had more big game experience and while he was happy to acknowledge his opposing mentor had the edge in premierships, his own experiences with Wynnum-Manly in the Intrust Super Cup and at the Sydney Roosters in 2013 would help him prepare his side as best they could be.
Asked if he was worried about Brisbane's supposedly superior big game experience, Green fired: "not at all really. I'm not sure what stats you're sort of referring to there. Our experienced blokes have had plenty of big game experience, in particular rep footy. Not in grand finals obviously but there's not a hell of a lot of difference."
Brisbane have plenty of premiership rings given the likes of Justin Hodges, Corey Parker and Sam Thaiday were there when they won in 2006 (and Hodges was a part of the Roosters' 2002 triumph) while Adam Blair played three grand finals with Melbourne and won one (though the title was later stripped).
For the Cowboys, just skipper Johnathan Thurston (a victory with the Bulldogs in 2004 and a loss with the Cowboys a year later), Ben Hannant (who won with Brisbane in 2006), Kane Linnett (who lost with the Roosters in 2010) and Justin O'Neill (who won with Storm in 2012) have played deciders.
But the Cowboys have dozens and dozens of Test and Origin caps – with countless Origin series wins and World Cup victories – in the shape of Thurston, Matt Scott and James Tamou in particular along with Michael Morgan, Jason Taumalolo and Hannant.
But Green said it was his own experiences guiding Wynnum-Manly to back-to-back premierships, then as an understudy to Roosters coach Trent Robinson in 2013, that would stand him and his side in good stead.
"The big thing is to keep it simple; what works for you through the year is going to work for you on the big day – that's probably the main thing," he said of his experiences in the Intrust Super Cup.
Of working under Robinson, he added: "going through that experience helped me greatly personally; just seeing how Trent handled things that year and for me to be close to that certainly was a good experience for me and confirmed what I always thought."
Green also previously worked as a specialist coach at the Broncos under Bennett shortly after he finished his playing career, and Bennett said he had always been confident Green would turn into a good coach.
"He never got to the assistant role per se; he did some work a little bit with some of our NRL players, but I was always confident he was going to be a good coach," Bennett said of his four years working with Green from 2005-08.
"I probably held him back a little there for a while when the 20s started because he was in line to be that coach but I just thought he needed to do a bit more work in the development area, which really challenges you about how to coach. Because you have to teach and a lot of coaches don't teach unfortunately.
"Paul was a good teacher, then he went to Wynnum and did a great job there – it's not easy to win two competitions in a row. He did his apprenticeship really well and it has put him in the good place where he is now."