Many will know Ryan Brierley as the try scoring scrum half extraordinaire for Super League chasing Leigh Centurions. The 23 year old has scored 130 tries in 122 appearances so with an average of over a try a game since his competitive debut against Barrow in the now defunct Northern Rail Cup. He came off the bench to replace Martyn Ridyard and scored 2 tries and 3 goals in a 48-16 victory.
Jordan Weir caught up with Ryan after his Tuesday morning pre-season session with the Centurions.
JW: The new era in 2015 promised the much loved return of promotion and relegation. The Leigh club looked to have been favourites for promotion. Unfortunately it wasn’t the case which must have been a huge disappointment.
RB: Yeah from a personal point of view, I was gutted not go achieve promotion but it’s something as a team we have to deal with. We have to learn from our mistakes and work harder to achieve the ultimate goal.
JW: Although the season ended in disappointment, it was another great one for the Centurions. League Leaders shield at the split and a great challenge cup for the second year running. Can it be considered a success for the club.
RB: Yeah 100%. The goal was to reach the top four but to win the league leaders again in a tough competition is a great achievement. The cup run certainly raised our profile and it was great to be a part of, but we need to replicate them performances on a consistent basis to become a super league team.
JW: You personally had another great season, scoring 37 tries in 33 games. How was the 2015 campaign for you on a personal level?
RB: Yeah it was a good year, but nothing can replace disappointment I had in not reaching Super League. It took some getting over. But it had inspired me to work even harder to make it happen this season.
JW: It was the 2014 season that you really came to the attention of all within in the game, especially with the Challenge Cup fixture at Headingley against Leeds Rhinos. Many tipped for Super League in 2015. Was it an option?
RB: Yeah I’ve had offers go to Super League but it wasn’t the right time in terms of my development. I trust Paul Rowley in making me the best I can be and Leigh is the best place for me at this moment in time. But I can’t predict the future, but all I know is I want to play at the top level. Hopefully I can do that with Leigh but if not I want to give it my best shot as it is what town, coach and owner deserves.
JW: After that 2014 campaign there was supposed interest from the Leeds Rhinos. Gary Hetherington rebutted that claiming your agent was offering your services? What’s the truth?
RB: Totally honest, it all happened so quickly I can’t really remember what happened. I never spoke to anyone from Leeds. I respect Leeds as a club and everything they stand for. So maybe it was a cross wires between my then agent at the time. But I just got my head down and concentrated on being a better player which is all I wanted to do.
JW: According to the Leigh website, next season is the last in your current contract. Should Centurions fans be worried that 2016 will be your last season with them?
RB: I don’t really know where my future lies after this season. But all I know is I’m going to give it my best shot at getting Leigh Centurions in Super League where they belong.
JW: Only a short career so far, but your best and worst moment so far?
RB: Best has to be winning the 2014 grand final and the worst has to be losing the Challenge Cup quarter final at Warrington earlier this year.
JW: Looking ahead to 2016, we are only a couple of weeks into pre-season. But what can expect from next season? What has training been like?
RB: Yeah real tough obviously, but really enjoying it and looking forward to the new season. We will be a lot smarter next year that’s the only thing I can promise haha.
JW: In 2016, most expect Leigh and Bradford to run away with the League again? How do you personally and the club deal with that pressure?
RB: Yeah it’s a tough pressure but I think if it doesn’t get you excited you’re probably in the wrong sport, so we relish the challenge and face it front in and give it our best shot. I suppose the pressure we create is from within our group. So if we fail we only have ourselves to blame.
JW: If all goes to plan you will be fighting against Super League clubs at the back end of the season. Does the gap off the field need to be closed before it can be closed on the field?
RB: That’s the million dollar question I suppose, but yeah I think salary cap needs looking at. If people wants us to compete with Super League teams you need to let us operate within the same budget. Otherwise we are fighting a losing battle.
Before we finished we done a teammates Q&A, some of the Leigh lads might want to look away now.
RB: Micky Higham
RB: Martyn Ridyard
RB: There’s a few of us. Me, Jonny Pownall, Liam Kay and Adam Higson
RB: Liam Kay
RB: Gregg McNally
RB: Jonny Pownall
RB: Jonny Pownall
Worst Dress Sense?
RB: Liam Kay & Adam Higson
RB: Sam Hopkins
Longest in the Shower?
RB: FuiFui MoiMoi