Green turns to AFL legend

Green turns to AFL legend Written by GREG PRICHARD, February 20, 2016

NORTH QUEENSLAND coach Paul Green has taken advice from AFL legend Leigh Matthews on how to approach the season after a premiership victory and ensure the Cowboys aren’t swamped by the pressure of trying to win back-to-back titles.

Matthews coached the Brisbane Lions to three straight premierships from 2001-03, and Green says the need to separate this year from last and concentrate on it as a separate entity is at the heart of what “Lethal” Leigh told him.

Green turns to AFL legend

Brisbane won Super League in 1997 and the NRL in ’98, but no side has gone back-to-back in the same competition since the Broncos did it in 1992-93. And with each team that fails to do so, the legend that it’s become an almost impossible dream grows.

“I’ve spoken to Leigh about it,” Green tells RLW. “He’s a very practical sort of guy and he says it’s not about winning two in a row, it’s about winning one that year.

“If everyone at the club is walking around thinking, ‘Gee, we’ve got to win two in a row’, that’s not going to work. The NRL season is so hard as it is and we’re just trying to give ourselves a chance to be there at the business end. What happens after that is up to you.

“We’re not talking about winning two in a row. If you do talk like that, it puts more pressure on you and also fuels everyone else to try to beat you.

“We’re just talking about this year and I’m happy for people to say it’s impossible, that takes the pressure off us. Our approach is no different to how we approached my first two seasons as coach here. We’re treating this season as this season alone.”

Green doesn’t fly by the seat of his pants as a coach. He’s learned by associating himself with winners or, failing that, studying up on them.

He originally met Matthews through Mick Power, a lifelong friend, construction giant and Brisbane Lions board member.

“Leigh’s someone I really respect and who I’ve been lucky enough to have a bit to do with. He’s someone I talk to fairly regularly,” Green says.

Green also cites American coaching legends John Wooden (UCLA, basketball), Vince Lombardi (Green Bay Packers, NFL) and the NFL’s most successful modern-era coach, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, as significant influences as well.

“I’ve read a lot of stuff on Wooden, Lombardi and Belichick,” Green says. “How they handled different situations is very interesting. War Room is a fascinating book that explains a lot about why Belichick is so successful.”

THE PREMIERS’ CURSE

1993 premiers Broncos
1994 finish finals week two

1994 premiers Raiders
1995 finish finals week three

1995 premiers Bulldogs
1996 finish 10th

1996 premiers Sea Eagles
1997 finish runners-up

1997 premiers Knights*
1998 finish finals week three

1998 premiers Broncos
1999 finish finals week one

1999 premiers Storm
2000 finish finals week one

2000 premiers Broncos
2001 finish finals week three

2001 premiers Knights
2002 finish finals week two

2002 premiers Roosters
2003 finish runners-up

2003 premiers Panthers
2004 finish finals week three

2004 premiers Bulldogs
2005 finish 12th

2005 premiers Wests Tigers
2006 finish 11th

2006 premiers Broncos
2007 finish finals week one

2007 premiers Storm**
2008 finish runners-up

2008 premiers Sea Eagles
2009 finish finals week one

2009 premiers Storm**
2010 finish wooden spoon***

2010 premiers Dragons
2011 finish finals week two

2011 premiers Sea Eagles
2012 finish finals week three

2012 premiers Storm
2013 finish finals week two

2013 premiers Roosters
2014 finish finals week three

2014 premiers Rabbitohs
2015 finish finals week one

2015 premiers Cowboys

*ARL premiers
**Premierships stripped for cheating the salary cap
***Finished last for cheating the salary cap

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