Salford Red Devils’ new signing Ryan Brierley is looking forward to making his debut for his boyhood club when the new Rugby Super League season kicks off in February.
Brierley, 29, joined Salford from Leigh Centurions earlier in the off-season and adds strength in depth being able to fill in at full-back or in the halves.
Brierley has been a Salford supporter since he was a young boy and while he is nervous for his first match in a Red Devils shirt, he is ultimately “really excited” to get going.
He said: “On my first day coming into the stadium and realising I am actually a Salford player, it was bit of a choky moment for me.
“As a kid I grew up wanting to play for Salford and I have just had my little girl’s shirt printed and to see my shirt alongside my little girl’s it was a tough moment for me if I’m being honest, it is really emotional for me and my family.
“I have spoken to my dad a couple of times now and you can tell how nervous he is. When I have been playing for other clubs he always asks me questions but I think the nerves are getting the better of him at the moment!
“My childhood dream was to play for Salford so when that day comes it will be something that no one can take away from me, so I am really excited by it.”
Ryan Brierley’s first season at Salford will coincide with that of Paul Rowley’s first season as head coach of the club, but the pair have known each other for much longer having been together at Leigh and Toronto Wolfpack.
Between 2012-2016 Brierley featured for Leigh while Rowley was the manager and their good relationship continued between 2017-2018 for Toronto Wolfpack.
Speaking about rekindling their bond at Salford, Brierley said: “Pre-season has been a little bit different for me because I knew what I was coming into, but the boys have really bought into it and they have been brilliant.
“There has been a lot of change to the philosophy that was there last year and Paul [Rowley] has come in and tightened a lot of the standards and the boys have reacted great.”
The new Super League season is set to be more competitive than ever with a host of transfers and managerial changes across the league.
Salford kick off their season away to Castleford Tigers on Friday 11 February 2022 but Brierley admits he will be taking each game at a time, even with the Rugby League World Cup rescheduled to take place at the end of 2022.
The Scotland international said: “First and foremost for me I need to play well, I don’t want my good performances and my bad performances to be too different, I want to be consistent.
“If I was to get selected in the World Cup squad it means I have done the right things for Salford and that is probably my main priority at this moment in time.
“From a team point of view I will just keep it really simple, we want to win the next game. It is really naïve of people to start putting goals and targets out there when the league is so good, there has been a massive turnover of players so we just want to win the next game.”
Featured image credit: Steve McCormick