Ryan Brierley is desperate to pay back Leigh Centurions in the best way possible – by firing them to Super League.
The 27-year-old admits he had got stuck in a rut at Toronto during a difficult 12-month period that saw him fall out of favour and put his future in doubt.
But the opportunity to return to the club where he made a name for himself provided a lifeline, and help him rediscover his best form.
Brierley has scored nine tries in ten games for the Leythers, who have booked their place in the Championship play-offs.
The Scotland international, who is eligible to play against the Wolfpack in the play-offs, is keen to repay the faith shown by the club and has set his sights on taking Leigh back to Super League as thanks.
“If you ask any player they just want to play,” he said.
“It’s not been a great year personally with Toronto and it was tough to deal with, not playing hurts as a player.
“But I’m grateful to Derek (Beaumont) and Duffs (John Duffy), not just as a player but a person. Duffs could vouch my head was all over and he needed to instil some confidence.
“But he trusted me to do what I do. I’m enjoying it again, I’ve switched between fullback and halfback but it’s just nice to be playing, I’ve got confidence back in my running game and beating defenders.
“The way I’m playing suits me because Duffs has given me that role and taken some responsibility off me. At Toronto and at scrum-half you get tasked with being an organiser, it’s been nice to come and have no pressure on my shoulders and enjoy myself, you’ve probably seen that in my performances.
“Especially last year at the back end I analysed too much, found reasons and made excuses why I wasn’t being picked. I’ve gone back to what I started doing, running the ball. My pace is my biggest strength. It will stand me in good stead to have added to my game but I just want to enjoy myself and become a runner again.
“It’s refreshing to be a part of. I feel like I have a sense of freedom. You can’t put a price on that.”
Despite being under contract at Toronto next year, Brierley admits his future is unclear.
“I really couldn’t tell you where I’ll be next year,” he said.
“I’m under contract at Toronto next season but it’s not looking likely I’ll be in their plans. That’s fine, sport can be cruel and it’s about opinions, I understand that.
“What I will say is I’m enjoying Leigh and I want to win promotion, of course I do. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.
“I’ll probably have to sit down with my agent and see what’s next. I want to play at the highest level and I believe Leigh are building something, but it’s not something I’ve spoken about to them.
“But for now I’m just focused on repaying Derek and Duffs for getting my head out of a bad place and I’ll be forever thankful of that. I owe them big time and hopefully, I can do that on the field and help get us promoted.”