Ex-Bradford Bulls and Wakefield Trinity star on the “complete opposite” of both clubs and his favourite Super League coach

BACK in the mid 2000s, one halfback arrived in the UK having played 27 games for Wests Tigers.

That man was Australian playmaker Ben Jeffries who had signed for perennial strugglers Wakefield Trinity.

Jeffries spent six seasons at Belle Vue, registering 143 appearances as he often became the livewire that helped to keep the West Yorkshire side in Super League.

After leaving for the Bradford Bulls ahead of the 2008 Super League season, Jeffries was back in a Wakefield shirt by 2010 – until he once more left Trinity for Bradford midway through the 2011 season.

At the end of the 2012 season, the halfback returned home to Australia and now he has opened up about those ten years spent in West Yorkshire with both Wakefield and Bradford and how different the two clubs were.

“My family and I spent a decade within the UK and we loved every moment of it,” Jeffries told League Express.

“As you do within life and sport there’s definitely some lows, but the highs certainly outweighed the lows and the life experiences we gained out of it was priceless.

“The two clubs in Bradford and Wakefield were complete opposites meaning where one was a large organisation at the time and successful through the infancy part of the Super League era and the other who was striving to be successful and seemed to love having their backs up against the wall.

“Both clubs have played a huge part in who I am today especially the people who were around me in those times.”

During the decade Jeffries spent in Super League, he served under a number of head coaches but one in particular sticks out as being “the most influential.”

“It’s very hard to nail down who my favourite coach was, but several seemed to have an impact over time.

“In 2004, Shane McNally at Wakefield was able to bond a bunch of ‘no bodies’ at the time where we became semi-finalists for the first time in Super League era.

“Through this period Tony ‘Casper’ Smith also was a huge influence on myself in 2004 and 2005.

“In 2006 John Kear was the mastermind behind the win against Castleford in the ‘Million Pound’ relegation game. His mini 6-week season was a Houdini-like act where we won four from six to stay in Super League.

“2008 and 2009, Steve McNamara challenged me in ways that I hadn’t been challenged before when I moved to Bradford where I was competing with internationals like of Paul Deacon and Iestyn Harris weekly for a playing position.

“However, the most influential coach I probably worked under in the UK was Mick Potter.

“He was hard, but fair and his methods and beliefs have certainly inspired my approaches in my professional coaching career today.

“In all honesty, its shame that I got him in my last two seasons of my professional career as opposed to earlier in my career.”

Jeffries is now Elite Pathways Coach at the North Queensland Cowboys as well as head coach of the PNG Orchids.