Paul Green’s brother Rick has revealed the toll the rugby league great’s death has taken on his family, particularly his elderly parents.
Rick, who has become the family spokesman following the news of his brother’s death, spoke on Channel 7’s Sunrise about the planned public celebration at the Wynnum Seagulls’ Kougari Oval.
But he also spoke more about how the family has been coping with the devastating news.
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The 49-year-old Green was found dead at his Brisbane home on Thursday morning. It has been confirmed he took his own life.
While the news of the former Cowboys premiership winning coach’s death saw an outpouring of grief from the rugby league community, it was nothing compared to the family.
“As expected, there are moments where were a bit overwhelmed by the emotion of the sense of loss,” he said.
“Mum and dad are quite advanced in their age — dad’s over 90, mum’s over 80 — and they are obviously feeling the loss of their son. As brothers and sisters were feeling that loss but we are very conscious of Amanda’s (Green’s wife) loss as well and making sure she’s got that support.
“Everyone has their moments but we’ve had a big weekend of discussing various things, we think we have a path now so that certainly helped.”
News of a public memorial was released on Sunday which should be well attended judging by the emotional scenes across the weekend.
Each match saw a moment of silence and tribute for the former Queensland coach, while others spoke eloquently.
Former Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston, who, with Green, orchestrated the 2015 North Queensland premiership win, the loss was too much.
Thurston was scheduled to commentate on Channel 9 on Thursday night but after landing in Sydney and learning of the news, he returned immediately to Townsville.
Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo, who is the only player to take the field on Saturday that played in the 2015 grand final team, shared his shock after his side’s 32-18 loss to the Roosters on Saturday, pleading with people to speak out no matter “how big or small the problem is”.
Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes was also widely praised for his comments after his side’s win over the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.
Rick said the reactions were “certainly recognised and appreciated.
“It doesn’t come as any surprise, we knew what a great man he is and were very conscious of the way is touched people’s lives, he’s touched our lives in the same way,” Rick said.
“There’s a lot of things which are very personal to us which isn’t probably touched by that sort of stuff, but it’s great to see from our perspective the rugby league community, the community in general getting behind those sorts of acknowledgments.”
Rick also opened up on his favourite memories of his brother.
“There are many, certainly the times when we were working together with the Wynnum Seagulls from 2010 through to 2013, they were extraordinary,” he said.
“I was the chairman of the club at the time, Paul was head coach. He won two premierships in 2011 and 2013, that was really quite special to watch him grow as a coach in that time and to see success he enjoyed.
“Apart from that, we always had wonderful family times at dinners together or celebrating birthdays and those sorts of things, holidays together, we spent a lot of time together and there’s a lot of special memories.”
Speaking about the memorial, Rick said the event would take place at Kougari Oval and invited the public to come and celebrate the league great’s life.
Paul’s death shocked the Australian sporting community but has sparked a necessary conversation around mental health and suicide.
On average, male suicides make up about 75 per cent of all suicides across the country each year.
Mental fitness advocate and founder of the Gotcha4Life foundation, Gus Worland, said Green’s death draws a “line in the sand” for Australians.
“Unfortunately, we lose seven blokes a day every day, two women a day every day, we have people attempting suicide at a rapid rate in Australia. So when someone famous, takes their own life, all of a sudden that shines a light on it,” he told news.com.au.
“But it also should make us realise it’s not just about this moment, but how many other families and communities that have that ripple effect that’s ripping through them right now.
“So at some point, we need to put that line in the sand and say ‘You know what? No more’. We have to really start looking after ourselves better.”