REVIEW: Off The Cuff: The Lee Briers Autobiography, by Lee Briers and Mike Appleton

Off The Cuff by Lee BriersHe has been one of the defining faces of Super League over the last 15 years, but Lee Briers will not be lacing his boots in 2014.

His retirement due to injury has robbed rugby league fans of at least 12 more months watching one of his generation’s most naturally gifted players, but Off The Cuff, Briers’ autobiography, gives us all one last chance to relive some of the highs and lows of a career that has always been anything but dull.

Briers teamed with ghostwriter Mike Appleton to produce his entertaining reflection on a distinguished career that included three Wembley wins and a Lance Todd trophy.

“Since I started in 1997 I reckon it (rugby league) has evolved three or four times. I’m not here to blow my own trumpet but I have had to reinvent myself at least twice… The game has changed massively and you only have to see the athletes on the field today, and like you I’m stood in awe of some of the people I play with and against. I really do think the game can go from strength to strength, but we need someone with imagination to take it forward.”

It is not just fans and pundits who rated Briers’ skills. He might have been overlooked by Great Britain coaches for the best part of a decade, but take this verdict from Andrew Johns as credible proof of his ability:

“I don’t know why he never played more games at the highest level, perhaps it was the larrikin streak in there, but I would have him right up there with the best players in Australia. He is up there with Laurie Daley, Brad Fittler and Darren Lockyer; with the elite half-backs because his skill and talent is so high… His passing game was probably the best I had ever played with.”

From those early days at St Helens through to his role as elder statesman in a Warrington team that finally began to fulfil its potential, Briers was always a player that was impossible to ignore.

His infectious enthusiasm, the cheeky lip to referees and the undeniable on-field brilliance will linger in memories well beyond the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

“I just want to be known as someone who was entertaining, a little unpredictable and who always played with a smile on his face. If people remember that, with a pint in their hands, then that’ll do me.”

It’s hard to see him not getting his wish.

Buy Now


Off The Cuff: The Lee Briers Autobiography, by Lee Briers and Mike Appleton, is available now. ISBN 978-1904091783, published by Vertical Editions. Buy now and save on the cover price.

FEATURE: Five Warrington rugby league books

Brian Bevan statue at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium

Welcome to a new regular feature on Rugby League Books.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be working our way through rugby league’s major clubs to produce lists of books that might interest the club’s fans.

The lists aren’t necessarily a ‘Top Five’ – just five books that will appeal to a particular club’s supporters.

This week, we’re starting with Warrington Wolves.

Biting Back: The Mike Gregory Story, by Mike Gregory, Erica Gregory, Steve Manning and Dave Hadfield

First up is Biting Back: The Mike Gregory Story, by Mike Gregory, Erica Gregory, Steve Manning and Dave Hadfield. Gregory was a Warrington hero and a rugby league great. His bravery and courage was immense, both on the field and later in life as he battled his illness.

Andrew Johns only played three games for Warrington, but his impact was almost unbelievable. His arrival at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in late 2005 generated headlines and media interest across the globe. His autobiography, Andrew Johns: The Two of Me, is an equally gripping read.

Another charismatic figure associated with Warrington is Alex Murphy OBE. His autobiography is nearly 11 years old, but Saint and Sinner: The Autobiography of a Rugby League Legend is still of interest to the generations who grew up watching Murphy’s magical skills.

Finally, two recommendations for Warrington history buffs. So Close to Glory: Warrington Rugby League Football Club 1919 to 1939, and Warrington Rugby League, 1970-2000, detail some fascinating years in the Wolves’ story.

Happy reading!

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Caza_No_7

FEATURE: Revealed – the top 10 rugby league books of 2010

Rugby League Books has been busy doing some research (no laughing at the back, please).

According to Amazon*, here are the 10 bestselling rugby league books (in Britain) published in 2010:

We realise this is a far from perfect exercise. It doesn’t take into account high-street sales from giants such as WHSmith or Waterstone’s, nor does it include figures from heroic independent book shops.

But hopefully it gives us at least some kind of a flavour of what’s been selling well in 2010.

And we’re sure there’s something on this list to keep interested even the most discerning reader until the start of the new season.


* List compiled on January 4, 2011. Sales figures and/or rankings may have since altered.