Ryan Brierley embracing challenge of full-back role in Leigh’s Super League return

Drew Darbyshire

Leigh’s new number one Ryan Brierley is relishing the challenge of a positional change to full-back ahead of the club’s return to Super League. 

The 28-year-old has been given the number one shirt at the Centurions for their season back in the top flight in 2021.

Brierley has played most of his career at half-back but isn’t a complete stranger to the full-back role.

He told Love Rugby League: “Its always nice to get a starting number and to be number one is a responsibility I don’t take lightly and it is something I’m looking forward to.

“Initially, it is a massive honour for me and my family to be given that shirt number but I imagine once the season starts I’ll be popping up everywhere but as long as they keep me away from that middle section then I’ll be okay!

“The training has been really good and it has been really specific. It’s a brand new position for me. Even though I’ve played full-back in the past I’ve never had a full pre-season to actually learn the position so it gives me another strength in my armoury that I can play another position comfortably.

“I think when you can play a couple of positions it adds your value to the team so it is just something I’m diving head first into in terms of learning a new position.

“I might not stay there all year but hopefully I can impress and keep the spot.”

READ: Leigh reveal 2021 squad numbers

Brierley has won seven caps for Scotland

Brierley returned to Leigh on a permanent basis at the start of the off-season following spells with Huddersfield, Toronto and Hull KR.

The Scotland international became a fan’s favourite at the Leigh Sports Village in his first stint with the Centurions, scoring a remarkable 133 tries in 125 games.

Brierley says he now wants to repay the faith given to him by Leigh coach John Duffy.

He added: “It is going to be a massive learning curve for me going into a new position, especially in Super League as well.

“I’m under no illusions of how tough it is going to be but it is something I’ll embrace, I’ll challenge myself and hopefully I’ll come out on  the other side in a positive fashion.

“I’ll be honest, I’ve probably allowed myself to think I’m a half-back for many years but in Super League full-back will probably be my most ideal position in terms of my attributes.

“John Duffy has said himself that he always believed I could be a Super League full-back and it is up to me now to repay the faith he has put in me.

“Playing as full-back on the back of the likes of Blake Wallace, Jamie Ellis and Joe Mellor is a really exciting prospect. With the way John sets his team up and the way he wants us to play, it allows me to bring out my best attributes like using my speed, support play and execution.”

READ: Craig Mullen “buzzing” to get going in Super League with Leigh

Leigh will start their season back in Super League with a derby clash against neighbours Wigan in the opening round at Headingley on March 26.

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