Huddersfield and Scotland half-back Ryan Brierley insists his international debut for the Bravehearts is the highlight of his career.
After his first season as a Super League player with the Giants following his move from Leigh, Brierley will start for Scotland in the halves tonight alongside team-mate Danny Brough against Australia in Hull.
And Brierley insists there is no greater moment in his career to date.
“I’m very proud and privileged to walk out with a Scotland jersey on,” said Brierley. “This is the highlight of my career. To be an international player at 24 years old is something I’d never dream of.”
Scotland face the biggest task of their 22-year existence at Hull KR on Friday night. None of the fourth-seeded teams in the four previous Four Nations tournaments have won a game in 12 attempts, although Samoa but up a brave fight last time out.
World Cup holders Australia have not lost to anyone other than New Zealand for ten years, and it is a generation ago that they last lost to a team outside the top three in the world. The Kangaroos prepared for the Four Nations tournament by comfortably beating New Zealand in Perth, and Scotland saw off a Liam Harrison Select XIII in Barrow, in which Brierley scored a try and kicked six goals on his Bravehearts bow.
“The squad we’ve got is unbelievable and to be among the likes of Danny Brough and Lachlan Coote is very special,” says Brierley, who was born and bred in Preston.
“There’s an array of world-class talent in this squad and I’m just proud to be a part of it. Playing alongside these players is a massive achievement on my behalf. It’s been an amazing season, from the Championship to being an international is a huge step and hopefully I can continue at that level for many years to come.”
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“It’s the biggest tournament of our lives,” added Brierley, whose family are from Kilwinning in Ayrshire. “When you’re playing the best team in the world it automatically brings pressure upon yourself, pressure from within. But you’ve just got to do what you’ve been doing all year as that’s what’s got you in the team. Once you’re in there you’ve got to prove it all again. If you don’t enjoy that pressure and you don’t enjoy it then you’re in the wrong sport.
“First and foremost I’m a rugby league fan so I love every minute of being out there and I’ll never moan about where I’m playing or who with. I think I’ve got the best job in the world: playing rugby league for a living.”