Evergreen Briers set to tick off another box as he ends long wait

It took Lee Briers 14 years to realise his dream of playing at Wembley and it has been an even longer wait to run out at Old Trafford – but the evergreen Warrington stand-off never stopped believing.

The former Wales captain, who in August won his third Challenge Cup winners’ medal in four years, aims to get his hands on a first Super League ring when Wolves take on defending champions Leeds in tomorrow’s Grand Final.

Briers, 34, said: “I would have retired ages ago if I didn’t think we could get here.

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“You always want to play in the big games and, in the organisation we’ve got, there are big expectations.

“We have an owner who had the vision and the vision is paying off now.

“It’s great playing on these big stages, it was a dream of mine as a kid. It ticks another one off before I finish.

“It’s been hard work to get here, though, and there’s no point coming here and not performing.”

Warrington claims to be one of the fastest-growing towns in the country and, after taking more than 20,000 fans to Wembley, the club expect an even bigger following at Old Trafford for their maiden Grand Final appearance.

They sold half their allocation of 23,000 Grand-Final tickets within 24 hours of last Saturday’s semi-final win over St Helens.

“Rugby is a religion in Warrington,” said Briers, who was born and still lives in neighbouring St Helens but has been with the Wolves since 1998.

“It’s going to be massive but, until we walk out on Saturday and hopefully get the right result, we won’t know how big it is.

“We didn’t know how big the Challenge Cup was in 2009 until we won it.”

It is just six weeks since Warrington beat Leeds 35-18 at Wembley and they were even more convincing winners in the 2010 Cup final, but Briers knows his side are the novices this time.

Rhinos are seeking a fifth Grand Final win in six years and for the second year running from fifth.

“They’re the best play-off team in the history of Super League by a country mile,” said Briers.

“People said it was a fluke last year but they’ve proved that wrong. They are a quality outfit who know how to play this type of game.”