TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 08: Cowboys coach Paul Green speaks at the post match media conference at the end of during the round 21 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Brisbane Broncos at 1300SMILES Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Ever since Paul Green was born in Brisbane back in 1972, he was surrounded by rugby league.

A humble man who will always be remembered as the coach that delivered the Cowboys their maiden premiership, Green was beloved by those he coached and came in contact with over his career.

Green was the head coach of North Queensland when the boot of Johnathan Thurston handed the club their first Provan-Summons Trophy, just two years before leading them from eighth to yet another Grand Final appearance in 2017.

Long before he held the clipboard, Green quietly carved out his own career with the ball in hand, notching 162 NRL games over 11 seasons, split between five teams in the competition.

Debuting at Cronulla in 1994, Green would notch 95 matches for the Sharks over five seasons in the Shire, rewarded for his work ethic with maiden Queensland and Kangaroos jerseys, a testament to the halfback's sheer hard work and drive to feature on the game's greatest stages.

He would go on to appear for the Cowboys, Roosters, Eels and Broncos over the next six years, notching seven State of Origin games in the process, and ensuring he wasn't just another star in the background.

The next few years, following his 2004 retirement, Green toiled away at Red Hill as he kickstarted his coaching career, spending time as a an assistant coach, specialist coach and head coach of Wynnum Manly in an eight year span, before eventually jumping ship to lead the Roosters Holden Cup team in 2013.

Wayne Bennett said it himself in the lead up the 2015 NRL Grand Final - "I probably held him back a little."

An uncapped coach leading into the 2014 NRL season with North Queensland, it didn't take long for Green to win over players and fans alike, guiding them to a controversial finals week two exit in 2014, before following it up with a premiership, a Grand Final appearance and preliminary final exit the following three seasons.

And when, like all great coaches, his time at the club came to an end in 2020, Green's resilience and work ethic was rewarded again, handed the Queensland Maroons head coaching role for 2021.

However, while it's easy to sit and list the big items on Green's resume, that was never what made the head coach stand out.

A beloved husband of wife to Amanda and a father to his two children, Emerson and Jed, it was his qualities outside football that made him the man that he was.

Following his departure as coach of the Cowboys in 2020, North Queensland legend Ty Williams only had kind words for Green in an interview with The Cairns Post.

“Very thorough work ethic and very honest in everything he does,” Williams said at the time.

“From the discussions I had with him, he made sure that you have the right people surrounding you, that was one thing that I picked up from him, and how honest he is as well, with players and everything like that.

“He was very open and honest about where he wants to see them playing and what he sees in the future for players.

“That’s something that I picked up from him, just being honest with them and creating that direct relationship.”

Only last year, Green was publicly candid over his want to coach the Brisbane Broncos one day, a club he loved from the moment he stepped through the doors in 2004.

The former coach tragically passed at 49 years of age in Brisbane on Thursday morning.

Green will be remembered by his family, friends and the rugby league community for not just his accolades and accomplishments, but for the person he was, the person that others wanted to follow, the person that those close to him can be proud of.