Canberra’s four-try hero Brenko Lee admits he cried when telling coach Ricky Stuart earlier this month that he would be taking up a contract with Canterbury next season.
Stuart was responsible for promoting Lee into the NRL squad when he first returned to the nation’s capital as coach in 2014, but has only just begun to reap the rewards for the development.
In his third game deputising for injured cousin Edrick Lee, Brenko bagged four tries in the Raiders’ 28-18 win over Parramatta on Sunday to help secure a top-four berth.
Lee said he was simply happy to be considered for selection after struggling to come to grips that he would be leaving the club that brought him down from Brisbane as a teenager.
“I come here when I was 16 but I started training grade when ‘Sticky’ (Stuart) came in,” Lee told AAP.
“He’s helped me become a better player, always telling me to focus on the little things and work to get the errors out of my game at training.
“When I first told him I was a bit teary because I know I wanted to be a one-club man under him. But to get an opportunity to play my preferred position and to further my game is one for my family.”
The 20-year-old conceded he is playing on borrowed time, with Edrick understood to be closing in on a return from a calf injury, possibly as soon as next week’s clash with Manly.
But instead of kicking stones, Brenko is intent on doing his best for the team as they seek to become the first Raiders team to lift the premiership trophy in over 20 years.
“It’d be good to leave here with a premiership, or being part of a premiership squad,” he said.
“I don’t know when Eddy’s back or when I’ll get told I’ll be sitting out. But I just have to be ready and confident for each chance I get to play.”