Cowboys and Sharks to play for Paul Green Medal in NRL clashes

Premiership winning player and coach Paul Green will be honoured with a medal in his name to be awarded to the annual winner of matches between the North Cowboys and Cronulla Sharks.

The late NRL and Queensland State of Origin coach tragically took his own life in 2022  aged just 49.His post-mortem revealed he was suffering from a severe form of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) that caused his death.

CTE is a brain condition caused by heavy blows to the head and concussions and can lead to a range of issues including .

Green holds the NRL trophy after arriving back at the Townsville airport before heading out to the North Queensland Cowboys NRL Grand Final fan day at 1300 Smiles Stadium in 2015

Green offloads the ball during the the ARL Preliminary Final match between the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and the Cronulla Sharks at the Sydney Football Stadium in 1996

Green played 35 NRL matches for the Cowboys and coached the North Queensland side to its first ever premiership in 2015.He also played 95 matches for Cronulla in a decorated career.

Now the two clubs have come together to honour his legacy with the Paul Green Medal set to feature in all Cowboys versus Sharks NRL matches in the future.

Green’s late wife Amanda praised both clubs for coming together to ensure he will always be remembered. 

‘We can only say thankyou to the Sharks and Cowboys for coming together to provide a medal that will ensure Paul’s legacy lives on,’ .

‘Paul had so many wonderful connections throughout the game, but it was at the Sharks and Cowboys where he forged deep relationships with both his teammates, club and supporters.

‘This will be a wonderful thing for our kids going forward for them to appreciate just how high their dad was held at these clubs.’

Green and wife Amanda Green on the red carpet ahead of the Dally M Awards satellite function at Jupiters Casino on September 28, 2015

 The medal will have an added benefit, helping to raise the profile of CTE and awareness of the condition to hopefully prevent more footy player deaths.

‘What I would also like to see is the medal raise further discussions around CTE,’ Amanda said.

‘We can’t lose another life like this because it’s just devastating.

‘I still have days where I can’t believe we’re where we’re at.

‘A day doesn’t go by where I just wish I knew then what I now know about CTE.

‘I didn’t even know CTE existed.

‘Hopefully this will only add to the education and awareness for families that may be going through what we went through.

‘If Professor Michael Buckland [from the Australian Sports Brain Bank] hadn’t contacted us, I would never have known that Paul was suffering from this terrible disease.’

Green in action for the Maroons in action during game two of the State of Origin series in 2001

 Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta said the medal was ‘befitting of a man who deeply impacted both clubs.’

‘When we (Sharks) first raised the idea with Jeff about the Cowboys and Sharks coming together to honour one of our most loved coaches and betmatik players, we immediately agreed that our head to head games were the perfect opportunity to make sure we forever honour Paul,’ Mezzatesta said.

‘We wouldn’t do this without Amanda’s blessing.Graciously, she accepted the gesture knowing what impact the Paul Green Medal will have for Emerson and Jed, and also our ability to raise awareness for head injuries in sport.

‘Our coach Craig Fitzgibbon and his assistant Josh Hannay are deeply connected to the Green family through previously working with Paul, which gives us great confidence that the players will appreciate how special winning the Paul Green Medal will be.’

The Cowboys stand together during a minutes silence to remember former coach Paul Green during an NRL match between the North Queensland betmatik Cowboys and the New Zealand Warriors

Green is sprayed by his players with champagne after winning the 2015 NRL Grand Final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys

Cowboys chief executive Jeff Reibel said the round 25 clash in August with Cronulla would include measures to promote awareness and advocacy of CTE for the Green family.

‘When Dino and I spoke, we also discussed what we could do to raise awareness around the brain bank and to ensure they’re getting the donations and funding they need,’ he said.

‘At our home game, when we play the Sharks, we will be quite visual throughout the stadium with information and increasing that awareness about the brain bank and CTE.