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Gareth O'Brien taking the lead from Warrington Wolves legend Lee Briers
Gareth O'Brien, once a ball boy for Lee Briers at Wilderspool, now relishes playing alongside the Wolves legend
GARETH O’Brien was a ball boy at Wilderspool Stadium when he got his first close-up look at the ingenuity of one of Warrington Wolves’ cup kings.
Now the 20-year-old half back wants to carry on learning as much as possible from 2010 cup final man-of-the-match Lee Briers while playing and training alongside him in order to benefit his game and hopefully the team for many years to come.
“When I played in the under 11s town team I used to be a ball boy at Wilderspool, so I watched him play when he was around my age now,” said the former Great Sankey High School pupil, who is Warrington born-and-bred.
“Just to be playing alongside him is a massive buzz and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself playing in this great team for a great club.
“We’re really good friends and we seem to play really well together.
“We’ve got a good amount of communication going on and he’s helped me out a lot. I look up to him.
“He’s a massive general in leading us around the field and we look to him for little sparks of inspiration.
“He’s the ‘go to’ man, so I’m constantly observing and looking at what he does.”
The former Halton Hornets amateur, who shone during a month’s loan to Widnes Vikings earlier this season, was not involved in Wolves’ cup final successes of 2009 and 2010.
But he feels the desire of his teammates to do it all over again, although there is also the determination for the team to reach its first Grand Final this year.
“We’re looking at both this year,” he said.
“The lads know what that Challenge Cup Final experience is all about and just want more and more of it.
“So we don’t need to be motivated for this weekend’s game against Bradford at all.”
He knows the best way to add to his six first-team starts is to continue working hard and developing.
“I’ve still got little areas for improvement that I need to address,” he said.
“I’m looking at those on video and Tony Smith has addressed some points to me as well.”
One area that head of coaching and rugby Smith has discussed with him this week is backing himself when he makes breaks.
O’Brien revealed “He said he’s looking for me to put my foot down and go for it rather than look for support straight away.
“So I’m taking that on board. I did some speed work in training on Tuesday and I’m going to continue to do that and get a bit of extra confidence from that.”