'Brisbane are seeing the benefit of him': Briers joins England coaching staff for Tonga series
England coach Shaun Wane has praised the role of Lee Briers in Brisbane’s NRL rise this season after announcing the former Wales playmaker would join his coaching staff for the upcoming series against Tonga.
Briers, who helped Warrington to three Challenge Cup victories and set numerous points scoring records during his 431 match Super League career, has been working with the Broncos spine players and kickers since moving from Wigan this season.
Brisbane fullback Reece Walsh leads the NRL for average line-break assists (1.6 per game), while Payne Haas is the highest offloading prop (2.1 per game).
Wane said it was no coincidence that the Broncos were now just one win from the NRL grand final with Briers working under his former Wolves team-mate Kevin Walters.
“It didn’t surprise me. He’s a very smart bloke and he keeps things simple,” Wane told a press conference at St Helens, where England will host Tonga on October 22.
“Brisbane are seeing the benefit of him, no question. You can see the influence he has and they’re going from strength to strength.
“He got underused internationally as a player and he’ll bring a lot, no question. I admire him.
“He’s done a good job with us at Wigan and he went out there to test himself. There was a chance it wouldn’t work over there but he’s made a success of it and Brisbane look like they’re getting to a Grand Final and he’ll have played a massive part.
“The most important thing is winning and to play well is secondary but he’s a smart coach, I know what his attacking prowess is, he’ll bring that to England and the lads will love him.”
Briers made 20 international appearances for Wales (NRL Photos)
Walsh said Briers had encouraged the Broncos to play more freely within structure.
“Lee has been awesome. I feel like he really encourages us to play football and use our strengths or what we're good at,” Walsh told NRL.com.
“Coming over from the Super League, it's a bit of a different style of footy and I think he's brought that to our team and encouraged us to attack against other team’s weaknesses and really nailing into us to stick at that and what works.
“I feel like he's really got the best out of me and he encourages me to play footy, and to be confident in throwing the footy around because we've got a team that's got a lot of strengths, a lot of athleticism and he really encourages us to use that.
“He's taken our attack to another level and instilled a lot of confidence in our big boys to use the footy as well. I feel like that's been really good for us.”