GREEN DEAL UPSETS BRON­COS COACH PLAN

Stanthorpe Border Post - - SPORT - PETER BADEL, TRAVIS MEYN

The Cow­boys yes­ter­day an­nounced a $2.8 mil­lion con­tract bo­nanza for coach Paul Green in a move that has rocked the Bron­cos’ suc­ces­sion plan for the post-Wayne Ben­nett era.

Green is the Cow­boys’ first

$1 mil­lion coach with chair­man

Lau­rence Lancini to front a press con­fer­ence to­day in Townsville to for­mally an­nounce a lu­cra­tive three-year up­grade.

Green will be­come the longest­serv­ing coach in Cow­boys his­tory, re­main­ing at the club un­til the end of 2021, with the premier­ship win­ner’s an­nual salary to reach $1 mil­lion in 2020.

By se­cur­ing Green amid a wor­ry­ing five-game los­ing streak, the

Cow­boys have staved off a Bron­cos poach­ing threat, sab­o­tag­ing Bris­bane’s plans for life af­ter Ben­nett.

Ben­nett, 68, is off-con­tract at the end of 2019 and is yet to an­nounce his fu­ture plans.

The Bron­cos, via a third party, have sounded out Green about the pos­si­bil­ity of suc­ceed­ing Ben­nett, but the Cow­boys have scup­pered any po­ten­tial move by lock­ing up the men­tor who de­liv­ered their maiden premier­ship in 2015.

Lancini de­clined to com­ment, but a fort­night ago, he said: “I have the ut­most re­spect for Paul. We want to see him stay­ing here for the long term.”

Green, who has held the clip­board in 115 NRL games, will sur­pass the late Gra­ham Mur­ray (161) and Neil Henry (124) to be­come

North Queensland’s most-capped coach. Cow­boys cen­tre Justin O’Neill, a mem­ber of Green’s 2015 ti­tle-winning team, said re­tain­ing the former Ma­roons Ori­gin player was a coup for the club.

“That’s great news,” he said.

“He has done great things as a coach at this club.

“I know the boys have a lot of re­spect for him. He def­i­nitely brings a lot to the Cow­boys.”

A fort­night ago Green was un­der pres­sure to sign the $2.8m ex­ten­sion af­ter six months of pro­tracted ne­go­ti­a­tions. Cow­boys hi­er­ar­chy wanted an an­swer by mid-April or warned Green they would pull the deal.

The mid-April time frame has proved ac­cu­rate, with Lancini get­ting his man at a time when the

Cow­boys, ti­tle favourites in pre-sea­son, are lan­guish­ing in sec­ond-last spot.

Green sought a num­ber of in­cen­tive­based per­for­mance clauses in his con­tract per­tain­ing to North Queensland’s mem­ber­ship num­bers, mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives and cor­po­rate strength.

But the Cow­boys board re­jected that re­quest.

Green will ink a tra­di­tional deal that puts him in the same salary strato­sphere as Ben­nett and Storm su­per coach Craig Bel­lamy.

Green is fac­ing his big­gest chal­lenge as Cow­boys coach af­ter his troops suf­fered a fifth straight loss for the first time un­der his lead­er­ship in Satur­day’s 27-10 de­feat to Can­ter­bury.

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