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The ‘myth’ that midfielders win AFL games: Leigh Matthews

Midfielders might win all of the Brownlow medals but games of footy are won and lost by forwards and defenders according to AFL legend Lethal Leigh Matthews.

“The other great myth in the AFL is that the midfield wins or loses you games,” Matthews tells David Morrow and Mat Thompson.

“To me it’s the ends of the grounds that wins or loses, how well you score from your opportunities, how well you defend the opposition,

“The midfield is always important but, geez, how well you go in your forward or defensive 50s – that’s what wins and loses you games of AFL in my opinion.

The four-time Premiership winning coach is frustrated by how much credit is given to the game plan of a winning team and takes umbrage at game plans being “the be all and end all”, inferring coaches wins matches, not players.

“Every week when I go to the footy, I reckon gam e plans vary [marginally] from team to team,” Matthews argues.

“The execution of the players – that’s what wins you games.”

Lethal Leigh cites Essendon’s season to date, culminating with a win on Friday night over the Demons as a prime example of individual skill mattering more than any game plan.

“[Essendon] have gone inside 50, in the first round, 53 times for 4 goals, and then 52 for 9 goals [in round 2], and then 52 times on Friday for 20 goals!

“Their forwards played well. Forget about the game plan being any different – their forwards executed, played well, kicked a big score.”

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