Following this morning’s announcement that Lee Briers will leave the Club at the end of the season to take up an opportunity in the NRL with Brisbane Broncos, the full interview with Lee Briers on the announcement is now available on Wigan TV.
On the announcement, Briers said: “It’s come out the blue. I’ve always had an ambition to go to Australia to test myself – first as a player but I wasn’t quite good enough, but now as a Coach and an opportunity has arisen to go to the NRL. Whilst I am excited to move, it is a bittersweet moment because I absolutely love it at Wigan. It’s been a tremendously tough decision to take but it’s one if I didn’t take, I would probably regret, and I don’t live with regrets. This was too big of an opportunity to miss.”
He added: “Why now? I might not get the chance again if I don’t do it. Tough decision – yes it was tough, it’s a quality Club, it’s Wigan. If somebody had asked me 18 months ago you are going to go to Wigan and enjoy it as much as you did, I would have just laughed. From minute one of coming here, I’ve felt wanted and welcome. I’ve been taken in by the staff – not just the playing staff and the coaching staff, everybody in the Club have been so welcoming, that’s the hard part.
“On top of that and to be accepted by a playing group who probably most of them hated me at the start – coming from where I come from. The coaching staff have taken me in, and we’ve bonded – it’s probably the tightest coaching staff I’ve been involved in. We all want the same thing. It’s been super tough, it’s gut-wrenching. I’ll leave with comfort knowing that I’ve tried my best every day and hopefully I’ve made a difference. I understand that this opportunity only arises because of the playing group and the staff. It wouldn’t have happened if the boys didn’t buy into what we do as coaching staff – there’s massive credit to the boys.
Briers paid tribute to the Wigan Warriors Club: “The Club has accepted me and brought me in and let me flourish. Ian Lenagan and Kris Radlinski have made me welcome and made me feel wanted and I do feel like I’ve been here longer than eight months – it feels like I’ve been part of this for a long time, but it also feels like only two minutes because I’ve actually loved, and I mean loved, coming into training each morning.
“Some people call it work – this isn’t work when you love it so much at the Club. People will say if you love it so much why will you leave, it’s not a case of that, it’s a case of wanting to go and experience something which has been burning inside of me since I was 15 years of age when I first toured Australia for the North West Counties.
“I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every day, the challenge of every day. This group of players are by far the most close-knit group of players who want to learn every day. We don’t always get it right, but they are unbelievable. They’ve taken me, trusted me and they’ve delivered. Also, Matt Peet who gives me that trust. It’s hard because me and Matt go further than just coaching, when my mum passed away, he was the first one to come and grab me. He’s always had the trust in me and hopefully I’ve repaid my bit.”
He added: “This Club is in massive safe hands with Matt and I’m just proud to be a small part of that. This Club is going to be successful and it is successful. With Matt and Sean, Ian and Kris, everybody is wanting one thing. That is the tough part to leave, my family say this is their second home, it’s tough and it’s not just something I’m going to walk away from.
“I keep catching myself thinking – I’m a St Helens lad and I worked at Warrington for 25 years, but this is the place that has genuinely grabbed me without a shadow of a doubt. I have fantastic memories at Warrington, and I love that place, but this place is something special as well and I’ll hold this dear to my heart.
Summarising, Briers said: “I could go on and on about what I’ve learnt, but the biggest part is why Wigan have been the most successful Club in this country and I know what it takes. In my short time, I know exactly how to win trophies and be a successful organisation. It’s all about making sure we knock each game as it comes and working hard. It’s full throttle ahead and making sure the players are fully prepared for what’s in line and every point matters now and we’re building.”
Asked ‘Can you see a day where you pick up the phone and it’s Wigan calling asking if you fancy coming back, what would say?’ “100 per cent,” Briers said.
Watch the full interview on Wigan TV HERE. Not a subscriber? Join today from £5.99 per month.