Paul Green has coached his last game for the North Queensland Cowboys, announcing his departure from the club he has coached for seven years.
Green coached the Cowboys to the 2015 premiership and took the team to the 2017 grand final, which it lost to the Melbourne Storm.
But the Cowboys have not played finals since then, and after a slow start to the 2020 season – which has seen North Queensland win only three of its first 10 games – the club moved to relieve Green of his duties.
“After seven years as head coach it is with a heavy heart that I make this announcement,” Green said.
“The board felt that the club was at a juncture where they needed to move in a different direction, and I can only respect their views.
Whilst this is obviously disappointing news, I am grateful to the board for allowing me to lead this club whilst creating some lifelong memories.
“I will use this next period to freshen up, spend some time with my family and assess options before moving on to my next coaching role”.
Reports suggest Green’s decision was made last week, but he chose to lead the team one last time against Penrith on Sunday.
The Cowboys lost 22-10, but were encouraged by the performances of some young players.
Assistant coach Josh Hannay will take charge of the Cowboys for the remainder of the 2020 season “while the club undertakes a thorough recruitment process”.
Cowboys chairman Lewis Ramsay thanked Green for his service and for recognising it was time to “pass the baton”.
“Paul has spearheaded some remarkable achievements during his time with us and we will be forever thankful for the club-defining moments he has generated,” Mr Ramsay said.
“Two [NRL Nine’s] trophies, two grand final appearances, a premiership, a World Club Challenge, three Dally M winners [coached] all form an excellent resume for Paul to take with him as he embarks upon the next stage of his career.
“The club appreciates Paul’s sincerity in choosing the best time for him to pass the baton and we wish him and his family the very best as they embark on their next journey.
“The timing of this separation now allows the club to work diligently and thoroughly through the important process of recruiting its next head coach.”