Warrington legend Lee Briers has penned a new two-year deal as the club’s under 19s academy head coach alongside an assistant coaching role with the first team.
Briers, 37, took on the U19s assistant coaching role under the tutelage of Danny Fullerton in 2013 helping to lead the side to a table-topping finish in 2014 before stepping up to head coach at the start of this season.
This year the academy side finished the first chapter of the season in fourth place just four points shy of the top. The squad now enters the second phase of the campaign in Group One alongside Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Hull FC, Hull KR, Castleford Tigers and St Helens.
The former half-back joined the club back in 1997 and went on to make over 400 appearances in primrose and blue. He is the leading points scorer in Warrington’s history and played an integral part in the team’s recent success now with three Challenge Cup winners medals and a Grand Final appearance to his name.
His years of experience in the top flight is proving invaluable to the players coming through the club’s academy ranks with many making the step up including the likes of Toby and George King, and Declan Patton. Briers will also step up into an official role as assistant coach to the first team.
Briers said: “I’m loving the role. It’s something I planned to get into after retiring and I’m 18 months in now and I am loving it. Every day is a joy; to come in and coach such good kids. When you work at a successful club and have great staff around you it makes my job a lot easier.
“We’ve got a great team; myself, Chris Rudd and Pete Nicholson as coaches as well as Phil Jones. I must also thank Ben Lazenby who made my transition into coaching so much easier as he gave me invaluable lessons in how to man manage.
“The club has been great with me to. They sent me out to Australia and I also studied Wayne Bennett while they (Brisbane) were over here so stuff like that has helped me as well.
“You learn every day. Every day is different in coaching as there’s always something that’s different in the game which you need to transfer over to players. We are continuing to produce good players and local talent too which is important.
“Next year alongside my role as head coach of the under 19s, my role as assistant coach to the first team will be made more permanent too. I’ll do more work on a day-to-day basis, and I’m sure Tony will have me in for more hours.”
Head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith added: “Lee’s made good progress as a coach. He’s still in the early stages of his coaching career but he’s got a good rapport with both the young players and now the senior players within the group.
“He’s done a good job with the Under 19s and has helped develop the players. He’s got a good understanding of the game but also of the pitfalls that are there to distract young people from their jobs. Having experienced some of those firsthand he’s been able to guide them and lead them in the right direction. He’s now passing on his experience.
“It was important for him to have a cut-off period from the first team after playing and now that he’s been able to integrate back into that environment we are delighted he is going to play more of a role next year where he’ll join Richard and me. He’ll spend time with the players on their kick practice. Lee’s intuition and experience can certainly be of benefit to the players.”