Wales Rugby League




25th January 2013, 12:16



WARRINGTON stalwart and Wales legend Lee Briers (pictured coaching Wales RL in France last October) cannot wait for the new Super League season to start - so that he can finally erase the memory of the last one.


With the Challenge Cup once more safely tucked away in the club's trophy cabinet, the Wolves were clear favourites to complete the first double for six years until Leeds again produced a blazing finish to the season to win the Grand Final from fifth place.


Briers told PA Sport it took him three months to get over the disappointment of that 26-18 Old Trafford defeat, largely due to an extended off season.


"I couldn't watch the game," he said. "I watched the season highlights but only on Sky Plus. I had to fast forward it.


"I didn't even know the score - I blanked it out of my mind. But I had a lot of time off and, once you are at home stewing on it, you think about it.


"If had gone back into training straight away, it would have gone straight away. But now it has gone and we've got to use it in a positive way."


The bookmakers have again installed the Wolves as favourites to secure a maiden Grand Final triumph and Briers is not about to argue with them.


"I don't listen to the bookmakers too much," he said. "I've lost enough money to them.


"We just want to perform well each week and, if we do that, we are going to be there or thereabouts.


"I'm not being arrogant or cocky - it's just with the squad we've got and the confidence we have in each other, we expect to be up there."


Warrington are fancied to do the double despite being the only Super League club not to make a close-season signing.


Briers is one of 10 players in Tony Smith's squad who are aged 30-plus but he believes the club have a crop of emerging talent, led by 18-year-old academy international forward Ben Currie, who are ready to take the places of the golden oldies over the coming seasons.


The former Wales international, who has been with the club since joining them from home-town team St Helens in 1997, applauds their decision to turn to youth instead of ageing overseas players looking to earn one last payday.


"We've got a really strong youth set-up now," he said. "That's what the club wanted to focus on - building from the bottom.


"Too often in the past this club have built from the top with big signings and, within two or three years, they're off.


"Now we've got a really solid base, with youngsters coming through who will fit into our squad perfectly."


Briers, 34, who holds the Warrington club record of 2,543 points from his 406 appearances, retired from the international game after Wales' involvement in the 2011 Four Nations Series and, with a view to the future, has joined national coach Iestyn Harris' backroom staff.


The veteran stand-off has been playing on 12-month contracts in recent years and admits he has begun to contemplate the prospect of retirement.


"I've thought about it because I need to put things in place for when it happens," he said.


"I need to be ready for it, mentally and physically, with another job and things will be put in place.


"I might sign a new contract or I might not. I have started coaching with Wales and that's what I want to go into.

"It all depends on whether I want to carry on playing or not. If there is a contract, I might turn around and say, 'I don't want it'. I'm just not sure at the moment."