Paul Green Q&A: Part 1
In an exclusive interview with NRL.com the Cowboys coach discusses the euphoria of winning a premiership in his second year in the job and the steps he took immediately afterwards to ensure they can defy modern history and do it all again in 2016.
NRL.com: Did you have a moment over the summer where you were able to reflect on what the team achieved last year?
Paul Green: Not really. Seasons roll around pretty quickly so once you finish you pretty quickly switch your mind into what's happening going forward. Once teams get back into training the competitive part of you takes over so you really don't get a long time to enjoy it.
It was done really well up here in terms of engaging with the community, allowing them to enjoy it and to see the trophy. I think the club did a really good job from that point of view.
Sometimes the boys get into me because I'm already looking at ways we can improve and thinking about how we can do things better so I tend not to dwell too much on that sort of stuff and I haven't done that yet.
It was a wonderful time, not just for the club but for the community up here as well.
NRL.com: What's the coolest thing anyone has said to you since the grand final?
PG: There's not one thing in particular but just so many people from so many walks of life. A lot of people have come up to me and said that they are not a rugby league fan but that it was a great game to watch and to experience and congratulations. That's pretty good.
I've had people from Melbourne stop me and say the same sort of thing.
The game was such a great contest, it had a little bit of everything – a bit of drama, a bit of theatre, a bit of excitement – and the way it finished it was a really good spectacle for everyone.
That's probably the biggest thing, that people who aren't footy followers have told me how excited they were to watch the game and that they really enjoyed the contest.
NRL.com: Is having largely the same roster an advantage in 2016 or it is a difficult task to challenge them to reach those heights again?
PG: It can be an advantage but it also comes with its challenges. Complacency is the big thing and sometimes people can take the foot off the gas and say, 'I've done it now and I don't need to work as hard.' I haven't seen any sign of that and we had an honest discussion as a group and whilst it was a wonderful thing that we achieved, the boys are also pretty honest that as a team we feel that we can still play a bit better.
We're honest about looking how we can be better and we need to be better because every other club is going to improve and if we don't you get left behind.
Realistically, for 79 minutes and 50 seconds we weren't going to be the premiers. I won't ever downplay what we achieved but we need to keep it all in perspective too and for us it's that process of looking at how we can do things better.
NRL.com: What signs will you look for if you sense complacency might be creeping in amongst the players?
PG: We've just come out of a tough little period of training both pre and post-Christmas and you look for guys who want to start taking short cuts or are not looking to improve themselves in any way they can. I haven't really seen any signs of that which is pleasing. That doesn't guarantee you anything but hopefully having worked hard through the pre-season we've put ourselves in a position where we can challenge again for the competition come the end of the year.
NRL.com: There has been some change in the coaching staff, how will you replace John Cartwright and Jason Demetriou who were two of your assistants last year?
PG: 'Carty' was fantastic for us last year and how long he was going to stay here we didn't really know but I was really happy that he came for the time that he did.
Toddy Payten had already started working in our program this pre-season and 'JD' felt for personal reasons that he'd been away from Sydney a fair while and had an opportunity down there [at the Dragons] and probably felt it was time to move back closer to family.
I haven't appointed anyone to replace 'JD' at this stage, it's more about making sure we get the right person. I won't fill the role just for the sake of filling the role. At the moment we're managing so I'll just have to monitor that but I'm sure the right person will come along and when they do I'll look at it then.
In part two tomorrow Green discusses the importance of the World Club Challenge on February 21 and what a fully-fit Matt Scott is capable of in 2016.