Premiership-winning Paul Green quits as Cowboys coach in NRL

TOWNSVILLE, Australia (AP) — Paul Green is leaving the North Queensland Cowboys, becoming the third head coach to depart a National Rugby League club since the competition restarted after the coronavirus lockdown.

The Cowboys slipped to 12th in the NRL standings after a 22-10 loss to Penrith on Sunday, their seventh loss in 10 rounds.

“After seven years as head coach it is with a heavy heart that I make this announcement,” Green said in a statement Monday. “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.”

Green is the third coach to go in a little more than month after Stephen Kearney was fired by the New Zealand Warriors and Dean Pay left last-place Canterbury.

Assistant coach Josh Hannay will take charge of the Cowboys for the remaining 10 rounds of the season.

Green was appointed head coach at North Queensland in 2014 and guided the club to the playoffs for four consecutive seasons.

After winning its its first NRL title in 2015 — with a golden point extra-time win over the Brisbane Broncos in the grand final — North Queensland won the World Club Challenge in 2016 and reached the NRL grand final in 2017, losing to Melbourne Storm. The Cowboys didn't reach the finals series in 2018 or '19.

“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,” Cowboys chairman Lewis Ramsay said. “The club appreciates Paul’s sincerity in choosing the best time for him to pass the baton. ___

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