14th November 2011, 10:44
Briers says We had Australia on the Rack VIDEO
Captain Lee Briers felt Wales had Australia
Captain Lee Briers felt Wales had Australia "on the rack" before ultimately falling to a heavy defeat in the Gillette Four Nations match at Wrexham.
Wales opened up an early 8-0 lead and did not trail until the 37th minute, but Australia eventually eased to a 56-14 success with 10 tries.
The match was a dead rubber with Australia's place in next week's final and Wales' elimination confirmed, but the hosts produced their best performance of the tournament.
Veteran half-back Briers, who, along with team-mate Chris Beasley, was making his final appearance for Wales, said: "It was belting, it was enjoyable.
"I know the scoreline was 50-odd but when you are out there and see the passion and energy Wales put in...sometimes we maybe didn't channel that the right way but we can't all be perfect.
"Massive credit to the boys. To step up to that, to have Australia on the rack for 35 minutes, I thought was outstanding.
"From week one to where we are now, we are a lot better. I've complimented all our young forwards on bashing them up.
"We have massive respect for Australia and some of those guys will learn from this. Come 2013 they will be better for this."
Warrington star Briers, 33, will retain an involvement in international rugby league by joining the Welsh coaching staff in the build-up to their 2013 World Cup campaign.
Coach Iestyn Harris said: "Lee is very committed to going into coaching when he finishes playing.
"We spoke when he came out of retirement two years ago. He held his end of the bargain up as a player and I will hold mine up.
"We are looking forward to him coming onto the coaching staff next year."
Harris was proud of his team's performance, which featured tries from Rhys Williams, Elliott Kear and Jordan James.
Harris said: "I thought after half an hour we looked reasonably comfortable.
"A message obviously went out for Australia to pick up the tempo of the game and I felt we allowed them to do that a little too easily.
"Again, you learn at this level. If we were playing again next week we would have learnt that lesson. We would be a little bit better again.
"It is drastically important now for us as a nation to continue to play at this level, to allow us to improve and get a little bit better coming round to the World Cup."
Australia coach Tim Sheens, who made changes to his side with the final against England in mind, felt the Kangaroos had been given a good test.
Sheens said: "We looked at odds with ourselves at times but we finished the first half strongly and then went on with it.
"A coach is never happy but we scored some good points. They got a couple of good bounces of the ball and chased well, so I am not going to be too critical of the boys.
"They didn't run through us although they got one good try out wide in the first half.
"We had a lot of new faces and had a couple of injuries out there, so we experimented a little bit.
"Overall our defence was solid and I am pretty happy with where we are going this week."
Cooper Cronk impressed by scoring a hat-trick of tries for the Kangaroos after Cameron Smith, captaining the side in place of Darren Lockyer, had claimed their first touchdown.
Johnathan Thurston weighed in with 20 points from a try and eight goals.
Smith said: "We knew before we kicked off that Wales were going to be pretty fired up. We smelt an ambush all week.
"We just knew we had to roll our sleeves up, play tough and get back into the match."