Ryan Brierley identifies why Nene Macdonald is finding top form at Salford Red Devils

RYAN BRIERLEY reckons Salford is the perfect spot for Nene Macdonald.

The exciting Papua New Guinea back has made a flying start to his time with the Red Devils, playing his twelfth game for them at one of his old clubs Leigh on Friday, when Paul Rowley’s men lost 40-12.

Signed on a four-year contract to help replace prolific try-scorer Ken Sio, who has returned to Australia, ex-Leeds man Macdonald has scorched in for five) from the centres this year.

Salford are the 29-year-old’s third English club after he initially arrived to play for Leigh in 2022, when he notched 27 tries in 27 games and both the 1895 Cup and promotion to Super League were won.

He helped PNG make the World Cup quarter-finals that year, having featured in both the 2013 and 2017 tournaments.

A Queensland Cup winner with Brisbane’s Norths Devils in 2021, Macdonald also has experience in the NRL from stints with Sydney Roosters, Gold Coast Titans, St George Illawarra Dragons, North Queensland Cowboys and Cronulla Sharks.

Scotland back Brierley says he’s long rated his team-mate highly, telling Salford’s YouTube channel: “I watched him play for Leigh a few years back and I realised then what a talent he was.

“Then at Leeds, I saw how much of a talent he was then and how hard he is to handle.”

Brierley added: “Regardless of the rugby, I just think we’ve brought another great character to the group. He’s very chilled – a bit of rugby nerd actually.

“You wouldn’t think it, but he loves his rugby, talking about different plays and ways he can express himself, which is what we want.

“I think this environment suits him down to the ground. It’s a very relaxed environment where you can just focus on playing rugby and enjoying yourself.

“He’s certainly doing that and I think that’s evident in his performances.”

First published in League Express newspaper, Issue 3,430 (May 13, 2024)

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