Why Paul Green is the ace in Cowboys hand
THERE is no 'i' in the word team.
That was one of Cowboys coach Paul Green's mantras when he arrived at the club, North Queensland players told me before the 2015 grand final.
And when you watch the Cowboys play it is clear that this is a genuine team in every sense of the word.
There are no egos, as the injured Johnathan Thurston proved when he was cleaning up the dressing room and putting rubbish in the bin after a recent win in the finals series.
When Michael Morgan landed a field goal to give the Cowboys a seven-point buffer with three minutes to play last week against the Roosters there was hardly a celebration.
That is because the players do not get ahead of themselves. The job was not yet done. They made sure it was though.
The Cowboys have a massive challenge ahead of them against the Storm in the NRL grand final but within their four walls you can be sure they are convinced they can take the game to Craig Bellamy's outfit.
Watch the Cowboys play and there is ultimate trust amongst all 17 players in the man next to them.
That has come to the fore in their defensive efforts and in attack.
There is a real calmness and resolve about this side and it all stems from the coach.
No side has won a premiership from outside the top four in the NRL era. The last side to do so was Canterbury in 1995.
The Cowboys finished eighth this season and no-one gave them a chance.
But Green has been a master at conjuring up remarkable turnarounds from what seemed like impossible situations.
While head coach of Wynnum-Manly Seagulls in the Intrust Super Cup in 2011 he lost the first six games of the season.
He was copping it from all and sundry. But Green stuck to his guns, stuck to the systems and players he believed in and his Seagulls went on a winning streak, scraped into the finals and won their first Intrust Super Cup premiership.
The Cowboys had lost their opening three games of 2015 and his selection decisions were derided and his team was written off.
After the 44-22 loss to the Broncos in round three of that year, Green was confronted with headlines that said his side "stunk" and editorials that said the Cowboys were "catastrophic".
Only two sides had come back and won the premiership after losing their first three games of the season, with the Rabbitohs the last back in 1953.
But once again Green remained calm, backed his decision to play Morgan in the halves and the Cowboys went on to win their first ever title.
The lesson here is that you write Green and his men off at your peril. There is no 'i' in Paul Green either. He does what is best for his team, and they respond.