NEWS How Briers helped the Broncos gallop to the NRL's summit

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Marc Bazeley
Sky Sports

When Kevin Walters decided he needed to inject some new life into Brisbane Broncos' attack midway through last year, it is perhaps no surprise he picked up the phone and called his former Warrington Wolves team-mate Lee Briers.


Regarded as one of Super League's most skilful and visionary attacking players prior to hanging up his boots 10 years ago, the Wolves' all-time leading point-scorer has successfully transitioned into coaching - first with his old club and then with Wigan Warriors.

The lure of testing himself in Australia, which had been there since first touring the country as a junior player in 1993, proved great enough for Briers to accept Broncos head coach Walters' offer and depart Wigan after just one season, and he now finds himself pitting his attacking wits towards unlocking some of rugby league's stubbornest defences.

"It's probably the defensive side [which is the biggest difference between the NRL and Super League]," Briers told Sky Sports while appearing as guest pundit for Thursday's live Betfred Super League match which saw his previous employers go down 14-10 to a defiant Hull FC.

"It is defence-orientated and as an attack coach it's something I have to get my head round a bit more.

"Coming into the role just after Christmas, I'm thereabouts to stamp my authority and my philosophies.

"My philosophy is all about support play. Everything revolves around support and making sure we take energy from the opposition."

That is evidenced by the fact Brisbane were leading the way in the NRL with 54.3 support runs per game heading into Friday's Magic Round opener, but the transformation Briers has helped oversee in the Broncos' attacking game to help propel last year's ninth-place finishers to the top of the table has been nothing short of remarkable.

Following Friday's 32-6 win over Manly Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane lead the NRL in both tries (47) and points (266), along with tackle breaks (375) and post-contact metres (5,440).

On an individual level, the amount of support the ball carrier is given is evidenced by full-back Reece Walsh topping the charts in both try assists (11) and linebreak assists (13).

Half-back Adam Reynolds has made a league-leading 83 attacking kicks too - another trait of Briers during his playing days.

Rather than necessarily any tactical or technical differences, though, the 44-year-old believes what makes NRL defences tougher to crack is the physical make-up of the players in the competition compared to those in Super League.

"The main difference is the athlete is a lot bigger and faster in Australia - it's their national sport so they get the first pick from the pool," Briers said. "In the UK, we probably get third [pick] behind football and rugby union.

"It's harder to break defences down because the athletes are so fast and so strong. What I find is it's the same IQ as it is over here, but some of them have not been coached into how to play rugby league.

"The athletes get by on size and speed alone and that's where I come in, that's my job to educate them on how to play rugby league. It's working so far, I suppose."

Briers arrived at the Broncos in December last year and his brief return to these shores saw him watching a game featuring sides coached by his former Warrington boss Tony Smith and Matt Peet, the man who took him to Wigan last year for a season which ended with winning the Betfred Challenge Cup and reaching the Super League play-off semi-finals.

The former Wales international remains grateful for everything he learnt from both men, but has no regrets about his move down under which is benefiting both him and his family.

"We went over as a family unsure of what we were going into, but we absolutely love it," Briers said. "It's a fantastic place to be and I'm in the best place I can be for my coaching career at the minute.

"I had a great time at Warrington for 25 years and then moving onto Wigan last year, I've got a lot of debt to pay them.

"I've got a lot of experience as an assistant coach, and this came out of the blue to go to the Broncos. I love it there and I'm learning every day."
 
Mick_Hancock

Mick_Hancock

NRL Player
Feb 26, 2023
1,338
3,432
Speaking of Pommies… can anyone remember the name of that pommy winger that never got a run in the NRL for us? He was here for like 2 years and went back…? Can’t for the life of me remember his name. I can see his face just can’t put a name to it
 
Mick_Hancock

Mick_Hancock

NRL Player
Feb 26, 2023
1,338
3,432
Speaking of Pommies… can anyone remember the name of that pommy winger that never got a run in the NRL for us? He was here for like 2 years and went back…? Can’t for the life of me remember his name. I can see his face just can’t put a name to it
Got it…. Greg Eden.
Did he ever play first grade for us?!
 
Sproj

Sproj

Immortal
Senior Staff
Sep 6, 2013
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He now also often plays FB in Super League.
 
ivanhungryjak

ivanhungryjak

State of Origin Rep
Contributor
Sep 8, 2009
7,637
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The only thing I remember about Greg Eden was him dropping a drop-out - pretty sure we lost that game…
 
lynx000

lynx000

State of Origin Rep
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Jul 28, 2008
6,464
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Was he the one that was spruiked as the English Billy Slater??
 
pennywisealfie

pennywisealfie

State of Origin Captain
Contributor
Mar 4, 2008
10,427
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What happened to Andre somethingorother, Italian surname. I know he got injured, I assume he isn't with the Broncos anymore.
 
Foordy

Foordy

International Captain
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Mar 4, 2008
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Badel reporting that Briers is "set to" extend his tenure with us by an additional 12 months. he was off contract at the end of 2024, but will ink a 12 month extention to remain on Walters coaching staff until the end of the 2025 season.
 
Big Pete

Big Pete

International Captain
Mar 12, 2008
31,685
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What happened to Andre somethingorother, Italian surname. I know he got injured, I assume he isn't with the Broncos anymore.
The 'next SBW' did his knee in the trials and was quietly let go by Seibold before the season kicked off. He went back to England and that's the last I heard.
 
I bleed Maroon

I bleed Maroon

International Rep
Apr 17, 2013
15,250
19,258
Is Briars handling our defence coaching as well? If so, sign him for life.
 

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