Cowboys’ Green smiles for critics

North Queensland coach Paul Green cracked a grin on Saturday, and it wasn’t just because he was on the cusp of an historic NRL premiership.

Neither was it because skipper Johnathan Thurston had come through the side’s final training session relatively unscathed.

Green fronted the media for the last time before Sunday’s grand final against Brisbane, and got an answer in before the first question: “I’ll smile – I don’t want to look uptight,” he said.

The Cowboys coach had been criticised for appearing too wound up in Thursday’s official grand final media conference, where he sat next to mastercoach Wayne Bennett.

So on Saturday, the former Bennett apprentice spoke openly about the importance of finding a balanced build-up to the biggest week of the season.

“It’s a tough game we play, so at different times different things are needed,” he said.

“But I’m no different to the players. It’s been important for me to enjoy the week, and how I’m feeling rubs off on the players.

“I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve been pretty relaxed and I’m looking forward to the game now.”

Green also admitted his side had picked up their intensity in training the closer it came to the big day.

“I think you’d like to see it as a coach, but it’s important that you don’t go over the top with it either because you don’t want to waste energy before the game and you don’t want to play the game before it arrives,” he said.

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