Written by John Davidson
Ryan Brierley says Leigh Centurions will return to Super League next year humble but unafraid of the challenge in front of them.
Leigh will replace Toronto Wolfpack in the top flight in following the unanimous decision of an independent panel led by Lord Caine.
The process to invite a 12th team to play in 2021 began at the start of November after the Wolfpack’s application to return to the competition was rejected.
The Centurions won the bid process ahead of London, Bradford, York, Toulouse and Featherstone.
Leigh, who last played in Super League in 2017, have already recruited strongly for next year with the signings of Hull KR quartet Brierley, Matty Gee, Jamie Ellis and front-rower Nathaniel Peteru, Wigan prop Ben Flower, and Matty Russell, Joe Mellor, Blake Wallace and Adam Sidlow from Toronto.
The club is expected to be favourites to be relegated in 2021, but Brierley is confident the Centurions can be competitive and beat the drop.
“We’ll just take every game one step at a time,” he told Everything Rugby League.
“There will be no fear from our side, we’re going to take every challenge head on.
“But the most important thing is this club stays in Super League.
“So fighting every week for the two points and hopefully that will be enough to keep us in Super League and progress and build year on year on the great work our owner Derek Beaumont has already done.”
🤝 And with that, your 2021 @Betfred Championship line-up is complete.
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) December 14, 2020
Brierley spent four and half seasons at Leigh from 2012 to 2016, scoring 133 tries in 125 appearances, helping the club to championships in 2014 and 2015.
He is the Centurions fourth highest all-time try-scorer.
After spells with Huddersfield, Toronto and the Robins, the halfback has returned to Leigh Sports Village on a one-year deal.
The 28-year-old is excited about what lays ahead.
“I’m made up, what a great day,” he said.
“It’s a special achievement from the club. The amount of hard work that has gone into the bid is incredible so I’m glad that’s paid off and been worthwhile for everyone behind the scenes.
“The initial reaction is very humbled and excited by Leigh Centurions in Super League. It’s going to be an amazing year on and off the field for all of us.
“To be playing in the UK’s elite competition again is certainly a privilege.”