Green to replace Bennett: Coach responds to bombshell report
COWBOYS premiership coach Paul Green has hosed down reports linking him with a move to the Broncos as the battle for his signature heats up in Queensland.
According to a Courier-Mail report, Green was approached last year by a third party with a 20-year association with the powerful Brisbane club and was sounded out on his desire to replace Wayne Bennett when the master coach's contract runs out at the end of the 2019 season.
It comes at an interesting time for the Broncos and Green, with the North Queensland coach now considered among the NRL's elite and contemplating life in Townsville without his all-time great playmaker Johnathan Thurston.
Meanwhile in Brisbane, Bennett turns 70 as his current contract ends and succession planning is well under way, with Green understood to be the top priority. Queensland Maroons coach and Broncos assistant Kevin Walters is another candidate with strong credentials.
The Cowboys are desperate to keep Green and, on the eve of a season where they are among the premiership favourites, Green was asked to respond to the Broncos links in an interview with Sky Radio's Big Sports Breakfast on Thursday.
"I don't read any of that stuff, I'm just doing my best to do a deal here (to stay at the Cowboys), so hopefully that's how it will turn out," Green said.
"I'm in no rush, I'm comfortable with where it's at, the discussions are ongoing.
"It hasn't been a distraction, we've got a pretty good group from that point of view, so I don't see it as an issue at this stage."
Green's response comes less than a week after Cowboys champion Thurston described the coach as the "club's biggest signing" should he remain at North Queensland long-term.
"Hopefully we can get that done sooner rather than later," Thurston said.
"He's got his squad that he's assembled now since his arrival. It's a pretty healthy roster and I have no doubts in my mind that if he stays here he could be a (Craig) Bellamy or Wayne (Bennett) type coach.
"He's one of the best that I've been involved with.
"The players have all got the utmost respect for 'Greeny'. He's very honest in everything that he does.
"There is no beating around the bush with Greeny. He tells you how it is and that's what the boys like.
"They don't want to be told different things, they want to be told what to do, what they need to work on and how they can get better. That's what he does, he gets the best out of his squad."