Green leads race to oust Seibold


Ousted North Queensland coach Paul Green's close friendship with powerful Brisbane Broncos board member Darren Lockyer could prove key in the race to replace Anthony Seibold.

Ahead of Brisbane's annual general meeting on Tuesday, it can be revealed that Green has been catapulted to the top of the Broncos' coaching hit-list alongside club legend Kevin Walters.

Green also has a solid and long-standing friendship with Ben Ikin, a leading contender to take over from Paul White as Broncos' chief executive.

Ikin was on the Cowboys' board when Green was handed the job following Neil Henry's demise in 2013.

Green is understood to have received a significant payout, close to $1 million, to make his immediate exit from Townsville with a season and a half to run on his contract.

Green's departure means the Cowboys are also on the lookout for a new head coach, with Josh Hannay to take over for the interim.

Anthony Griffin, Kristian Woolf, Nathan Brown, Walters and Green's former assistants David Fairleigh and Todd Payten have all been mentioned as possible candidates, although the Cowboys have had no discussions with any outside coaches at this point.

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Cowboys coach Paul Green has friends in the right places it seems
Cowboys coach Paul Green has friends in the right places it seems

That hunt is expected to start immediately following Friday night's showdown with Manly.

But the timing for Green could not be more ideal given Seibold is considered a dead man walking.

Stephen Kearney's former job at the New Zealand Warriors is also up for grabs, while Green's name was also being pushed at Cronulla earlier this year.

It was also suggested Green could potentially take Walters' Queensland Origin coaching job if Walters ends up taking over from Seibold.

It is now seen to be a matter of when, not if, that the Broncos board pulls the trigger on Seibold.

The Broncos board is preparing to cop huge backlash at Tuesday's AGM that will be done via video link because of COVID-19 restrictions.

But there will be no escaping the reality with angry shareholders expected to demand answers on the coaching front, as well as what is being done to stem the bleeding at their once proud club that has hit an all-time low this season.

While the Broncos' board has tried desperately to give Seibold as much support as possible, the reality is the 48-0 loss to Wests Tigers last Friday night has basically made Seibold's position untenable.

The greater fear now is that if the Tigers can do what they did to the Broncos last week, Friday's clash against Melbourne threatens to end in a cricket score.

Enter Green, who has always had a strong desire to coach the Broncos ever since he worked under Wayne Bennett a decade ago.

Green also played a handful of games at the club, while he won premierships with Wynnum Manly.

Until this point Walters was viewed as the man most likely to take over from Seibold because of his proud Broncos' history.

While Walters has no NRL head coaching experience, he is the current Origin coach and is adored at every level of Queensland rugby league, which would pull together the angry club legends as well as the fans.

But in Green's favour is his close relationship with people of influence, while his coaching record is pretty outstanding.

Anthony Seibold’s tenure at the Broncos is under enormous strain
Anthony Seibold’s tenure at the Broncos is under enormous strain

Green's highlight in six and a half years at the Cowboys was beating the Broncos to win the 2015 premiership, although his effort to take the club to the 2017 grand final without Johnathan Thurston was also a huge coaching achievement.

"I'll take some time, take a break and clear my head, and then decide what's next," Green said on Monday.

"Whilst my time coaching the Cowboys has come to an end, my time as a head coach has not so I'll be looking for an opportunity at some stage."

Green's demise at the Cowboys has been dragging on for some time as his relationship with some senior players deteriorated.

A blazing row with Michael Morgan following a match in Newcastle last year while on a night out was considered a tipping point.

Green is known to be an extremely smart footy brain with a wonderful coaching ability, but his man management skills have been known to let him down.

It just got to the stage at the Cowboys where both parties needed a fresh start, although the parting was done with immense respect.

It is understood Green and club chairman Lewis Ramsay spoke last Wednesday following the humiliating 42-16 loss to the Sydney Roosters and it was decided Green would not be coaching the Cowboys in 2021.

That was followed with another conversation last Friday when Ramsay and Green agreed the game against Penrith would be Green's last at the club.

But only board members and senior management were aware of the situation.

The players were then told on Sunday night they would be required for a Monday 11am meeting where Green informed them he was moving on.

Originally published as Green leads race to oust Seibold