HE may have scored a hat-trick of tries for Leigh as they blitzed Batley 52-12 on the opening day of the season.
But Ryan Brierley’s future at Leigh is as a try creator according to his coach Paul Rowley.
Since arriving at Leigh on loan from Castleford a couple in 2012, Brierley’s explosive pace and eye for the gap have marked him out as one of the Kingstone Press Championship’s most exciting talents.
The former Westhoughton Lions amateur was initially a go-to substitute when Leigh looked to exploit tiring defences. But last season he became a first pick, forging a successful half-back partnership with Martyn Ridyard.
“When he arrived here I was under pressure to play him from the start,” remembers Rowley. “People loved to see what he could do because he was young and had pace.
“But I had a plan for Ryan from the start and together we have worked really hard. I suppose I see him as a project.”
“He puts the hours in and I think everyone can see he has developed and matured as a player. He has got a huge future.”
Brierley was quick to deflect personal praise after his scoring exploits against Batley.
“The scoreline was nothing less than we deserved,” said Brierley. “I enjoy scoring tries but it’s all thanks to the boys who put me in those positions and hopefully I can continue to do that and we can keep winning games.
“We have worked really hard through pre-season and I’m just lucky to get on the end of things. It was a great result against Batley who have been one of the most consistent teams in this division but we won’t get carried away.
“We have hard work to do as we look for consistency but we have a good set of boys here this season and we are gelling together quite nicely.
“It will take us a few games to get used to each other because we have so many new faces. Slowly but surely we will and already the boys have a great camaraderie.”
Brierley scored 26 tries in just 29 appearances last season and Rowley thinks he can get even better in 2014.
“Ryan’s a great finisher and his record shows that,” said Rowley. “But I think we are going to start seeing some aspects of his game which weren’t apparent when he joined us.
“No longer is he just a support player he is a creator as well. I think he has improved greatly as a player since coming to Leigh and he will get even better.”