“It’s make or break now.”
That’s the view of Ryan Brierley after completing his move to Hull Kingston Rovers last week.
The halfback became the Robins’ 20th signing for the 2020 season after signing a one-year deal with the club after leaving Toronto.
Throughout his career, Brierley has been surrounded by plenty of hype, largely down to his impressive try-scoring record.
That earned him a big-money move to Huddersfield in 2016, before Toronto moved in to take him to Canada.
But he played only five games for the Wolfpack in 2019, before going on loan to Leigh Centurions, where he played 13 games.
Now, at the age of 27, Brierley has played just 20 Super League games, all of them with the Giants in 2016 and 2017.
Now, with just a one-year deal at Craven Park, he insists it’s time to prove himself once and for all.
“I know a lot is said about me, but there comes a time you have to start proving it,” he said.
“I’m at a club where, if it can’t be unlocked, then it’s on me and there’s nobody else to blame. With Tony Smith and Danny McGuire, two people who have done everything in the game, I couldn’t be under the leadership of better people. I’m looking forward to fulfilling that potential.
“I have the confidence to do that as well. I’ll always back my own ability. It’s a tough division and the quality is unreal, I know I’ll be up against world class players, but that’s what I got into this sport for. You have to prove yourself week in and week out.
“If you can’t handle that pressure you’re in the wrong sport.”
Brierley left Super League to take up a deal with Toronto, who were in League 1 at the time in 2017.
Despite being a regular for the first 12 months of his time with the Wolfpack, he found himself out of favour come last year’s Qualifiers.
“It was a gamble that didn’t pay off and I’m not scared to admit that,” he said.
“I left a Super League club to be part of something special and I knew what I was signing up to. I was hoping we’d get promoted and I’d be in Super League with them this year.
“If I’m honest, not playing Super League has killed me, but I’m lucky enough to have a chance to play in it again and there’s a burning desire in my stomach to prove people wrong.”
Though he knows there is no guarantee that he will be an automatic started for the Robins next year.
He will be competing for a place in the team alongside Jordan Abdull, Joe Keyes, Mikey Lewis and Jamie Ellis, who all have the same goal.
“A lot has been made about the competition for places, but that’s how it should be,” he said.
“It should be hard to get a gig in a Super League team. You should turn into training and want to compete and be better than everyone else. What I will say about the halfbacks at KR is that they’re good people, I can’t see there being any awkwardness or bitterness. As much as I’ve said what I want to do, the major focus is getting two points for Hull Kingston Rovers and we all have that mentality.”
© League Express (Mon 9th Dec 2019)