Paul Green’s tragic death in August could have been enough to derail the Cowboys’ entire season, Michael Morgan believes.
Speaking on Wide World of Sports’ QLDER, Morgan – who played in Green’s 2015 grand final winning side – said the news could have seen the Cowboys’ form go “one of two ways”.
The Cowboys played their first match after his death barely 48 hours after learning of the news. They lost to the Roosters 32-18.
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But they bounced back the following weak to flog the Warriors 48-4 at home. They will be hoping to carry that motivation into their preliminary final against the Eels at home in Townsville on Friday night.
”They could go really well off the back of it (with) that bit of extra motivation to want to do him proud, and I think the following week after it happened that’s exactly what the club did,” Morgan said.
“The boys did that together.”
The Cowboys rounded out the season with a loss against the Rabbitohs at a greasy Accor Stadium, before a big win against an understrength Panthers.
The last time the Cowboys clashed with the Eels was in the heat and humidity of Darwin in round eight, where Kyle Feldt scored a hat-trick in a 35-4 win.
Morgan said coach Todd Payten had spent time with several players who had played under Green who were struggling with the news.
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“There’s still a number of guys who spent a lot of time under Greenie when he was coaching,” Morgan said.
“One of Todd (Payten’s) strengths as a coach is he’s personable with the players and he understands them, and he knows that not everyone reacts the same way.
“He would have accepted that and dealt with the guys who may have been I guess dealing with it a bit more than others, but the good thing is they’ve come out the other side and they’ve gone really well.”
Johnathan Thurston was also in that team, and said Green holds a special place in the hearts of all who played under him.
“He will never be forgotten at the club or by those players,” he said.
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