You read it here first – Lee Briers to lead England into the 2025 World Cup.
Wigan’s loss is certainly Brisbane’s gain after the announcement that he is to leave the Warriors at the end of the season to join Kevin Walters’ staff at the Broncos.
It takes some doing for anyone to get a coaching role in the NRL, never mind an Englishman, and after the announcement of Richard Agar’s move to join the staff at New Zealand Warriors, it’s a sign of how highly regarded Lee is.
Over here, we’ve all seen how his arrival and work alongside Matt Peet and Sean O’Loughlin has helped transform Wigan into a more successful and far more entertaining side, and it’s clearly been noted by the Aussies.
It’s an opportunity he can’t turn down, and it would be no surprise if Wigan have first refusal when he decides to come home (that’s if he doesn’t want to stay Down Under).
But I reckon he could combine club and national-team duties, and I’d love to see him in charge of England for the tournament in France in three years’ time.
I think it would go down well with the supporters too.
In the meantime, he’ll be doing everything possible to finish on a high with Wigan who, of course, are chasing the double after lifting the Challenge Cup.
A budding loose forward
So Liam Sutcliffe is leaving Leeds for Hull on a three-year contract.
I think a change of environment could do him good. At 27, this is an important move, and I hope it works out.
Liam’s a very capable player, but he has probably suffered from the early expectation on his shoulders after he was tipped to fill Kevin Sinfield’s boots, an extremely tough task for anyone, and from being considered a bit of a utility.
I noticed Brett Hodgson said: “He can play a number of positions and I like players who are able to change roles if needed.”
It would be better for Liam if he focused on one role and worked at making himself consistent in it. For me, it should be loose-forward.
He has the attributes and the experience to be a success in that position.
Danny rewarded by Tigers
I’ve sometimes been critical of Danny Richardson, who has struggled to reproduce his early form for St Helens, and to be fair, hasn’t been helped by injury problems.
But he’s been pretty good in the halves for Castleford in recent weeks, and he’s been rewarded with a contract extension to 2024.
Apparently Castleford, who first signed him in 2020, have the option to add a further year, which gives Danny an added incentive to perform, and to do it consistently.
He now has the chance to develop his game, and while he undoubtedly has the tools required in technical terms, he needs to work on the organisational side of his game.
You must have a voice, and get the respect of your fellow players, by showing them you know what you are doing and that your instructions work.
Wolves’ fears ease
As Lee Radford continues to get to grips with his job at Castleford, Daryl Powell, the man he succeeded, will be breathing a big sigh of relief after Warrington’s first win in five games, at home to Toulouse on Thursday, pulled them six points clear of the bottom-placed French side.
The slightly chaotic nature of a match both teams were clearly desperate to win pretty much summed up Warrington’s season, a catalogue of encouraging spells quickly followed by spectacular lapses.
There’s no doubt the 32-18 scoreline flattered Warrington, who contrived to let slip an early 12-0 lead by half-time, and benefited from a few breaks at timely moments and their opponents’ indiscipline.
A tiring Toulouse being reduced to twelve men for two spells in the second half certainly gave Warrington a leg up, and now Powelly will be desperate to add a few more wins over the four remaining matches of a season which, for those of a primrose and yellow persuasion, has been largely forgettable.
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