TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Cowboys coach Paul Green looks on before the start of the round three NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Sydney Roosters at 1300SMILES Stadium on March 17, 2016 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The 2019 NRL season presents an entirely new challenge for North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green, rebuilding a struggling team from the bottom up.

Green took the reins in 2014 and was blessed with inheriting a roster stacked with representative players and a future immortal in Johnathan Thurston.

His first assignment was to help the club move on from finals heartbreak amid controversial refereeing decisions in previous seasons. His next was to lead the Cowboys to a drought-breaking premiership.

The 2015 season was nothing short of miraculous for the Townsville based club, in which Green instilled a never-give-up attitude and a belief in the players that they could win any game from any position, resulting in several unbelievable comeback wins. That included a memorable grand final victory in extra time to secure the Cowboys a maiden premiership in just Green’s second year as an NRL head coach.

The 2015 premiership resulted in Green heading a player retention drive, desperate to keep his premiership-winning team together with the hope they could achieve sustained success.

Despite a preliminary final in 2016 and an eighth-place finish in 2017 which included a memorable run to the grand final, unexpected cracks appeared this year in what ended up being a forgettable season for the Cowboys. They slumped to thirteenth place.

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Many pundits attributed the Cowboys fall from premiership favourites to a battle to avoid the wooden spoon because of Green’s apparent inability to evolve the team’s playing structure and his poor roster management by sticking with players who were past their best.

Thurston once again led the league in most of the attacking stats including try assists, but it was obvious the Cowboys’ structures in both attack and defence, had become too predictable. Several players looked tired and the team clearly lacked spark, speed and enthusiasm.

So for Green, the honeymoon period with his premiership winning squad and the gift of possessing one of the greatest playmakers of all time, is over.

The challenge for the Cowboys mentor is the unpleasant task of informing long-serving players of the club that their services are no longer required, recruiting new talent and developing fresh blood from their reserve grade ranks for NRL selection.

The Cowboys recruitment process has already begun with the signings of premiership winner and Dally M medallist, Ben Barba and PNG international, Nene McDonald as well as setting their sights beyond 2019 by chasing the signature of representative star, Valentine Holmes.

It will be a busy off-season for Green and his coaching staff, with the need to formulate and execute new playing structures, ensuring new players fit in to the clubs culture and challenging the experienced players to take their games to another level.

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Despite the retirement of Thurston, North Queensland still possess a very talented and experienced roster, with several representative players and premiership winners, so anything less than a finals birth next season will be unacceptable.

In April this year, Green was re-signed for a further three seasons (until 2021) largely due to his success from previous seasons. However, if he is unable to return the Cowboys to the finals in 2019, his tenure as head coach of the North Queensland Cowboys may be cut short, so the pressure is on.

12 COMMENTS

  1. If Green can’t get his team of imports into the top eight then he will enter the race with Arthur Parra, Bennett Soufths/Broncos and Seibold soufths/Brisbane coach to get the sack first for 2019, Probably throw Hasler Maqnly in with that lot also, he hasn’t been able to get his teams to score points in his last two Bulldogs seasons:)

    • Team of imports?
      1. Barba local junior
      2. Nene mcdonald local junior
      3. Opacic inport
      4. Justin oneil local junior
      5. Feldt local junior
      6. Clifford local junior
      7. Morgo Local junior
      8. Scott local junior
      9. Granville import
      10. Mclean import
      11. Cooper import but played for cowboys as 18 years old
      12. Hess local junior
      13. Lolo been with cowboys since 14

      I dont know what your talking about but there is an tremendous amount of local talent playing for the cows

      • Barba import made his NRL debut with Canterbury. Nene McDonnold made his NRL debut at the Roosters, Ben Hampton debut from Melbourne, Justin O’Neil debut for Melbourne, Te Maire Martin debut for Penrith, Tom Opacic debut from Brisbane, Francis Molo debut for Brisbane, Jake Granville debut for Brisbane, Jordan McLean debut for Melbourne, Kurt Baptiste debut for Brisbane, Lucky they got rid of these players for next season otherwise the Cowboys would be playing with 14 imports who made their names with the clubs metioned before the Cowboys purchased them. Thurston debut for Canterbury, Fenson debut for Canberra ,Antonio Winterstein debut for Brisbane, Lachlan Coote debut for Penrith πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ€£πŸ˜‚
        Team of imports.

    • Not the most accurate of things I’ve ever read mate. They’re not a team of imports, definately not their stars. They’ve recruited about as much as anyone else in all honesty. That’s one of the perks of the Salary Cap. Seibold isn’t headed for the sack at all, and I doubt souths will sack Bennett. The coaches closest to the chopping block at the moment are Brad Arthur, Sticky Stuary and possibly even Nathan Brown. That being said, a ball hasn’t even been kicked for 2019 yet mate, so I wouldn’t be making premature assumptions.

      • There’s no way that Nathan Brown is on the chopping block. They just re-signed him on a contract that doesn’t even have an end date. He inherited a rubbish side and has turned them into being competitive and I would think that in 2019 they will be pushing hard for the finals providing they aren’t cursed with injuries.

  2. I am very hopeful that it is Brad Arthur that goes first.
    Hopefully they don’t leave it to late in the season to get rid of him.
    We should have done it while Madge was still available.
    We have hired Mick Potter as an assistant coach.
    My guess is he will take over if BA gets booted.
    Not sure he is much of an upgrade though.

    • THE Mick Potter? Hahahaha God Parra can never get a good coach. At least BA has played finals, more than Potter did in his “stint” with the Tigers.

      • Potter is actually not bad. He was given half a chance at best at wests and was sniped by Farah who nobody can stand to coach.

        • 46% win percentage at Catalans, 43% at Bradford and a poultry 35% at Wests… Yeah he did well at St Helens, but there is a reason they moved him on.

        • Hey slam Sam. Just at a glance those Potter figures you quoted look like a massive improvement over recent times.
          Look, he may not be of the super coach status of Benntt of old, Bellamy and Hasler, but I think the Potmiester would be a wonderful head coach tasked with taking parra into the future.

        • Hey Scream, yeah bit of a misconception. Tigers were the last head coaching job he had, Catalans were first then St Helens, Bradford and finally Wests.

          Potter will attempt to build the team with veteran players, and that is what will get him ousted. It didn’t work at Leichardt, it won’t work in Parramatta.

        • I think potter will persist with giving both Norman and Moses dominant roles regarding organising attacking plays.
          In the past couple of years it may seem to be uncoordinated and disjointed when they over rule each other’s calls, but if Parra coaching staff can stick with this plan for another couple of years, who knows, it may change the way the modern game is played.
          Very progressive.

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