Lee Briers: Wigan Warriors assistant coach says he couldn't turn down the role despite previous links with Warrington and St Helens
Wigan Warriors assistant coach Lee Briers says he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to join the club despite playing for some of their biggest rivals.
The former scrum-half started his career with St Helens, before joining Warrington, where he a long-serving player and more recently a coach.
Despite the rivalries, Briers states he is proud to have joined Wigan, and that his decision was never in doubt after being offered the role.
He said: “Everything about the club is great, and I couldn’t have been happier by how it has started. Me and Matty (Peet) have been mates for a few years, and as soon as I knew there was an opportunity at Wigan, I was excited, because there aren’t many bigger clubs.
“Looking in from the outside you know it is the most decorated club in England, but it’s only when you become part of it, you realise just how great it is from top to bottom. It feels like a really tight family, where everyone has a part to play, from the chairman to the groundsman.
“It was always going to be strange when I’ve been at one club for so long, but I’m really enjoying it. I have soon got used to turning towards Wigan instead of Warrington on the motorway.
“To have this on my coaching CV was something I could never pass up. I’m thrilled the chance arose, and I’m making the most of it.”
The former Wales international says he delighted to have arrived at Wigan ahead of such a historic year and hopes they can make it special.
“It’s a great time, 150 years is sensational. It’s really good we can celebrate that. We want to make sure that the heritage is understood by every player in the squad and every staff member.
“We have fantastic facilities, but they can only give you so much. You have to make the most of what you’ve got. We need to work hard and be humble, taking pride in what we do.
“We want to make sure we have good standards and a good culture, where the players are turning up and enjoying themselves. If we can do that then we can set some good targets.”
Briers says he enjoyed being involved in the games between Wigan and Warrington throughout his playing career.
“It didn’t come much better than the games at the DW, under the lights, with sell-out crowds. They were genuinely the games to see, and unbelievably tough.
“There is a lot of respect between the two clubs, which made it even more intense.”
Although 10 years ago Briers would never have seen himself being part of the Warriors camp, he says life always provides some surprises.
“Three years ago, we wouldn’t have imagined that Covid would wipe the world out. it’s weird how things happen.
“It was tough at the time when I was leaving Warrington, I never thought I could be as happy as I am now. In a way I’m chuffed it’s happened because it has given me a perspective on how other clubs work, and I’m really enjoying putting my stance on the Wigan team.”
Briers believes himself, head coach Matt Peet and Sean O’Loughlin have the perfect mixture of experiences and ideas.
“You can see it works really well, as we have an understanding. We compliment and are honest with each other. Even when we challenge someone, we won’t fall out because we all want what’s best for us as a coaching group and Wigan as a team.
“We’ve got all aspects covered. People might look from the outside and think, there’s not a great lot of experience in coaching a first team, but we have a lot of knowledge and a great working relationship that can outweigh the inexperience.
“People will point to me being brought in to be just the attack coach, but I’m not, we all throw our own ideas around. Matty is the boss, but he’s given us a bit of freedom to put our own stamp on it. We have all made sure we are super planned.
“I think the boys have reacted well to how detailed we are. This group will work hard, and it give their best.”
Briers says it would be great to see some of the squad involved in the international set up ahead of such a big year for rugby league, but his main focus remains on the Warriors.
“I am focussing on them being best prepared to perform each week for Wigan. If we do that then international call-ups will be just round the corner. If we get players doing well and they play for their country, then that is great for our club.
“As we know the World Cup is just round the corner so hopefully, we can get some numbers up.
“Rugby League has gone through a tough time and there’s been a lot of negative stuff, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and let’s hope at the end of this year we will have a fabulous tournament.”
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