Cowboys coach chases Bennett and greatness
IF PAUL Green guides North Queensland to the first back-to-back NRL premierships in 23 years, the question has to and will be asked: Can he be rugby league's next super coach?
The last time a club won successive premierships in a full-strength competition was in 1992-93.
That team was the Brisbane Broncos, coached by none other than current super coach Wayne Bennett.
While there's still quite a chasm between Green and the master coach, there's no denying there is some amazing similarities in how each man started off his respective coaching careers.
Bennett is 66 this year.
He ranks alongside coaching greats such as Jack Gibson and could be the greatest ever.
Green is 23 years younger, so he has plenty of time to win a lot more premierships, coach Queensland at Origin and, if the opportunity arises, coach Australia.
Bennett is not finished yet.
His Broncos are on top of the NRL ladder and favourites to atone for their epic 17-16 golden-point grand final loss to Green's North Queensland side last October.
Bennett has been to eight grand finals. The only man in history to beat him on the biggest day of the year has been Green, which only further underlines his potential to one day make his own Bennett-esque mark on coaching.
Bennett won a Brisbane Rugby League premiership with Souths in 1985, made his NRL coaching debut under Don Furner at Canberra (co-coach) before being head-hunted by a Brisbane syndicate headed by the late Paul 'Porky' Morgan to coach a new franchise named the Broncos.
Ironically, Green got his initial coaching break under Bennett as an assistant at Red Hill before landing the job with Wynnum and moving to the Sydney Roosters to coach the club's NYC side to the finals in 2013.
During an interview last year, Bennett admitted he had considered appointing Green his under-20s coach at one stage before giving the job to Anthony Griffin.
"I always knew (Paul Green) was going to be a good coach," Bennett opened up.
"I probably held him back a little bit when the under 20s came into the competition because he was in line for that job, but I needed him to do a little more work in development because he's a very good teacher."
Bennett and Green have two tremendous playing rosters.
The Broncos are already regarded as one of Australian sports most successful sporting organisations due largely to the culture and standards Bennett established back in their early years.
Green, now in his third year, is doing the same with the Cowboys, who have emerged as a power club in recent years with Johnathan Thurston the face of the Cowboys.
It's also interesting to look at their respective coaching records.
Bennett, the game's longest-serving coach, has won 463 of his 743 games for an exceptional record of 62.3% over 25 years.
Green has coached 62 games but has won 41 of them at an impressive 66.1%.
BENNETT V GREEN
Bennett 1985 Brisbane Souths.
Green: 2011-2012 Intrust Super Cups with Wynnum Manly.
Bennett: 7 (6 with Brisbane
1 St George Illawarra)
Green: 1 North Queensland Cowboys
AGE AT FIRST PREMIERSHIP WIN:
CAREER WINNING PERCENTAGE:
Bennett 743 (record) for 463 wins at 62.3%, Green: 62 for 41 wins at 66.1%.