The North Queensland Cowboys have made it official – current stand in Warriors coach Todd Payten is the man who will guide the team in 2021 and beyond.
The North Queensland Cowboys have made it official – current stand in Warriors coach Todd Payten is the man who will guide the team in 2021 and beyond.

Cowboys unveil new head coach

The North Queensland Cowboys have officially appointed a new coach, with former Wests Tigers premiership winner Todd Payten to take the reins in Townsville.

Payten will be unveiled as the Cowboys' new mentor at 11am on Friday morning, stepping into the hot-seat vacated by Paul Green.

Green was sacked in July following seven years at the club, which included the Cowboys' first NRL premiership in 2015 and a grand final loss in 2017.

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Green was shown the door with a year to run on his contract and the Cowboys facing a third straight year in the bottom eight.

The Cowboys will not play finals football in 2020 and have lost their past nine games, with interim coach Josh Hannay yet to register a victory since replacing Green six games ago.

The Cowboys are in wooden spoon contention, sitting only one win above last-placed Canterbury.

Payten, 41, has completed a lengthy apprenticeship as an NRL assistant coach which included being part of Green's coaching staff for the 2015 premiership win against Brisbane.

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Todd Payten spent time as an assistant coach at the Cowboys.
Todd Payten spent time as an assistant coach at the Cowboys.

He spent four seasons in Townsville before joining the New Zealand Warriors in 2019 as an assistant to Stephen Kearney, stepping up to the interim coach role when Kearney was sacked in June this year.

Payten was installed as one of the favourites to replace Green along with ex-Titans coach John Cartwright and presented an irresistible case for the role.

Despite being based in Australia, the ninth-placed Warriors are remarkably in finals contention after winning five of 10 games under Payten.

New Zealand has won four of its past five matches, the only loss coming to first-placed Penrith, and Payten has been credited with transforming the club.

Payten 259 NRL games for Canberra, the Roosters and Tigers, including the 2005 grand final win against North Queensland in which he scored a try in the final minutes to crush the Cowboys.

He becomes the eighth full time coach of the Cowboys and only the fourth since the late Graham Murray took over in 2002 before being succeeded by Neil Henry (2009-13) and Green (2014-2020).

Originally published as Cowboys unveil new head coach


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