LeighUpdates got in touch with Leigh’s free scoring halfback Ryan Brierley, to get his views on the season so far, his role in the team, some disappointing results this season and also the big Tetley’s Challenge Cup tie with Wigan Warriors on Friday. Here’s what Ryan had to say.
1. It was great to see you on board for this season, what were the reasons for you staying with the Centurions and how is the team spirit in the camp?
Yeah I really enjoyed myself last year on loan, and I felt wanted which is half the battle as a professional athlete, Paul Rowley made it quite clear that he wanted me to be part of his plans. There were a few other offers on the table but to be quite honest I didn’t really consider them, as soon as Paul put the contract in front of me I signed it straight away, the relationship I have with the fans is something special and I couldn’t leave them, I wouldn’t feel right leaving them.
2. The season has been fairly successful so far, but there have been a few blips along the way. What do you think went wrong in the Featherstone game, which granted was the first of the season, but more specifically the Sheffield game which was a little disappointing.
I think like you say the Featherstone game we was a little undercooked but we should of performed a lot better than we did, Sheffield at home was a really poor performance from all of us and it took us 60 minutes to turn up but you cant give a team like Sheffield a head start, we gave ourselves too much too do and never really recovered.
3. With the Halifax game just gone, a lot of fans were pretty disappointed. Fax are obviously going strong but we weren’t in this game at all. Is the Wigan game a distraction or is that an easy excuse? What do you think went wrong?
First of all I would like to apologise on a personal note and on behalf of the team. Our performance was not acceptable, no player makes mistakes on purpose and I can assure you ever member of the team gave 100% but our decision making in defence and attack was embarrassing at times and all we can do is apologise for that, we didn’t execute Paul Rowley’s game plan and didn’t give him what he asked for so the responsibility lies with us as players and I can assure every fan we will put it right.
4. Many fans talk about the game time you are getting Ryan. Are you happy with the role you play for Leigh at the moment?
It does get a little frustrating at times because I’m a young kid and just want to play rugby, but I trust and respect Paul Rowley and I will do anything I can to help the team, I will never sulk or question Paul because I have too much respect for him, he’s like a father figure to me and has looked after me during my time here and hopefully he can keep developing and improving my game as a player and as a person. And as long as we both improve together I’m happy playing whatever role he asks me to play.
5. Looking at the league table, it’s been very competitive so far. Leigh look to be in the mix again. Have the team set any goals? Is this the year we can finally win a playoff game for the first time since 2004?
To be honest we just take every game as t comes and see where we end up, we realise as a group of players and an organisation we are one of the top teams in this league so we have to live up to that reputation week win week out, but it is a pressure we relish. I have personal goals but I would like to keep them to myself and go quietly about my business, which goes for the team as well.
6. What do you make of the new rules introduced this year? Gregg McNally mentioned earlier in season that he was disappointed the RFL didn’t talk to the players more about the changes to the shoulder charge rule. Also, the free play rule is something new to the game. Is it something players need to get in to a mind set for, so that the first instinct is to try something as it is a no lose situation. For instance Swinton used it to great effect against us recently, is it something you look at in training?
Greg moans about everything! But he is right, the RFL never ask for the players opinions, they should ask for players input because its us who play the game and we have a better understanding of what should and shouldn’t be in the game. The free play I really like because its a chance to try a flick pass, chip kick all the fancy stuff you probably wouldn’t try, but as for the shoulder charge I was chuffed to bits because at least no one can do it to me now!
7. After Leeds in the QF last year, it’s now Wigan in the 4th round this season. How do the lads feel about this one and is there a different approach with this being at the DW rather than the LSV? Is there anything that can be learned from last year?
No our approach will be exactly the same whether it be home or away, last year was a great experience for me personally, we performed really well and I think the score flattered Leeds in the end but we learned a lot from that so hopefully we will be able to handle the occasion a little better, we appreciate the challenge on our hands and were not going to shy away from that fact, but we certainly can not go there scared of them, we respect them but we don’t fear them. They have got special players who can hurt us at any moment the likes of Sam Tomkins and Matty Smith, but as long as we stick to our principles of working hard for each other, I’m sure we can cause them a few problems a long they way. We will go there confident in our ability as players and people, I urge the Leigh fans to get behind us all game because we will need you, and I promise we wont let you down and you will leave the stadium proud.
8. Finally, it was great to see some videos of you and Riddy messing around with the kick at goals. Can we get some more insider videos? Perhaps videos on away days on the team bus? After match banter like the video earlier in the season with Coyle?
Me and Riddy always have a mess around before training starts trying different trick shots. I’m winning easy but he’s too stubborn to realise it, sometimes he’s there for hours trying to copy something I’ve just done, it’s a shame. On a serious note though Riddy is one of my best mates in the team and we spend a lot of time together off it and I learn so much from him, if I come up with a successful play in the game its normally down to Riddy and ill always be grateful for it, so when something does come off, its not a fluke we spend a lot of hours on the training ground along with Gregg McNally practicing these things so we can use them in games. With Gregg living in Yorkshire its hard to get him involved in the videos but its something me and Riddy like getting involved in, we have our own slot now on Centurions TV so make sure you watch our for some funny new videos.
Thanks you for your time and I look forward to seeing you all cheering us on behind the posts in the away end of the DW stadium.
Be loud and proud.