Paul Green is the ace in Cow­boys hand

The Queensland Times - - NEWS OPINION - JOEL GOULD joel.gould@qt.com.au

THERE is no ‘i’ in the word team.

That was one of Cow­boys coach Paul Green’s mantras when he ar­rived at the club, North Queens­land play­ers told me be­fore the 2015 grand fi­nal.

And when you watch the Cow­boys play it is clear that this is a gen­uine team in ev­ery sense of the word.

There are no egos, as the in­jured Johnathan Thurston proved when he was clean­ing up the dress­ing room and putting rub­bish in the bin af­ter a re­cent win in the fi­nals se­ries.

When Michael Mor­gan landed a field goal to give the Cow­boys a seven-point buf­fer with three min­utes to play last week against the Roost­ers there was hardly a cel­e­bra­tion.

That is be­cause the play­ers do not get ahead of them­selves. The job was not yet done. They made sure it was though.

The Cow­boys have a mas­sive chal­lenge ahead of them against the Storm in the NRL grand fi­nal but within their four walls you can be sure they are con­vinced they can take the game to Craig Bel­lamy’s out­fit.

Watch the Cow­boys play and there is ul­ti­mate trust amongst all 17 play­ers in the man next to them.

That has come to the fore in their defensive ef­forts and in at­tack.

There is a real calm­ness and re­solve about this side and it all stems from the coach.

No side has won a pre­mier­ship from out­side the top four in the NRL era. The last side to do so was Can­ter­bury in 1995.

The Cow­boys fin­ished eighth this sea­son and no-one gave them a chance.

But Green has been a mas­ter at con­jur­ing up re­mark­able turn­arounds from what seemed like im­pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tions.

While head coach of Wyn­num-Manly Seag­ulls in the In­trust Su­per Cup in 2011 he lost the first six games of the sea­son.

He was cop­ping it from all and sundry. But Green stuck to his guns, stuck to the sys­tems and play­ers he be­lieved in and his Seag­ulls went on a win­ning streak, scraped into the fi­nals and won their first In­trust Su­per Cup pre­mier­ship.

The Cow­boys had lost their open­ing three games of 2015 and his se­lec­tion de­ci­sions were de­rided and his team was writ­ten off.

Af­ter the 44-22 loss to the Bron­cos in round three of that year, Green was con­fronted with head­lines that said his side “stunk" and ed­i­to­ri­als that said the Cow­boys were “cat­a­strophic”.

Only two sides had come back and won the pre­mier­ship af­ter los­ing their first three games of the sea­son, with the Rab­bitohs the last back in 1953.

But once again Green re­mained calm, backed his de­ci­sion to play Mor­gan in the halves and the Cow­boys went on to win their first ever ti­tle.

The les­son here is that you write Green and his men off at your peril. There is no ‘i’ in Paul Green ei­ther. He does what is best for his team, and they re­spond.

PHOTO: MICHAEL CHAM­BERS

MAS­TER: Cow­boys coach Paul Green has a proven abil­ity to rally the teams he men­tors from po­si­tions the crit­ics said were im­pos­si­ble.

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