Like Rocky against Drago: How Lee Briers won over the haters

Lee Briers Wigan Warriors SWpix
Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix

Lee Briers has revealed how the Wigan fans that used to hate him have ended up reducing him to tears with their messages of support for his move to the NRL.

The Warrington legend says wearing the Wigan tracksuit has taken a lot of getting used to this season, but the incredible welcome of the club and its fans is now making his impending move to Australia tough to contemplate.

“Not one person has come to me and said it’s wrong what you are doing,” Briers told this week’s Love Rugby League Podcast.

“Every single Wigan fan has said to me thank you. I use the analogy of Rocky against Ivan Drago when all the fans at the start of the fight are absolutely booing Rocky. And at the end they loved him. I know that’s soppy but that is the way I feel. 

“That’s a massive change – 20,000 of them were booing me for 20 years and hated me. That’s fine, that is rugby league, that is passion. Now they get to know me and now I’m not that person and some of the messages I have send me to tears. I’m an emotional guy anyway.”

WARRIOR: We’re the number one knockout team – Lee Briers says he feels a duty to leave Wigan on a high

Lee Briers on maturing as a player and a person

In a heartfelt chat about his evolution through a career at the top, Briers admits he has learned from some big mistakes in the past.

“I’ve not always been this person,” Biers acknowledged. “I was a different person when I played. 

“I was young, earned relatively good money, I could walk into a bar and get free drinks any time I wanted. It was good at the time but would I do it all the same way, no way. 

“Life is about learning, I try to make myself better than yesterday and I will get that wrong, that is human nature. I’m making far fewer mistakes now than I have previously and that is growing up. 

“The big thing is accepting it. It’s like being an alcoholic, if you don’t accept it you don’t get better. And I’m not an alcoholic, not like some reported on last week that I’m addicted to alcohol. What a joke, I’ve never said that in my life.

“But I’m learning every day to become a better person, better dad, better coach. And if I get those three right every day then I’m happy with that.”

PODCASTLee Briers on NRL ambition, Wigan honour & Super League restructure

FOLLOW: Keep up with all the latest on the Love Rugby League mobile app and podcast


  1. Absolute legend superb player an honest man and turning into a good young coach all the best lee thanks for your input in our club

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