Ryan Brierley has revealed the level of trust placed by Paul Rowley in Salford Red Devils’ spine players.
Brierley, Brodie Croft and Marc Sneyd have all shone in recent weeks to push Salford into the play-off places, despite their minuscule budget and long injury list.
The three share a close bond, a love of rugby and a decision-making triangle that often excludes coach Rowley.
“Me, Brodie and Sneydy have a lot of meetings together, the three of us without the coaching staff,” Brierley told League Express.
“The trust that our coaching staff, Paul Rowley especially, has in us three as players is really important.
“We’ll do things on a weekend that our coach doesn’t even know about, because it’s just something we’ve seen in a video and we want to do it.
“We’re students of the game and we know the right things to try to break a team down.
“Not a lot of it gets said to Paul and, if we told him some of the stuff, he probably wouldn’t let us do it.
“That’s the biggest compliment you can get off your coach, that they trust you.
“There are certain things he wants us to do, and some things he just lets us run with and trusts us to deliver.
“It’s a pleasure to be part of the spine with those two people, especially Brodie – the way he’s playing at the moment, he’s an absolute freak.
“Sneydy is the calming influence with leadership qualities, and he’s bringing some of that out in me.
“I’ve never been in a triangle where I can have those deep chats. Sneydy’s maybe not quite as deep, he likes to be relaxed, but me and Brodie are really particular and detailed about which plays will or won’t work.
“We also challenge each other with it, sometimes we won’t agree and we’ll battle it out.
“There are some tough conversations because we’ve all got a nasty streak on us and all want to win.”
Brierley has been particularly impressed by how Croft, who is in third place in the Albert Goldthorpe Medal table, has starred in his first season in Super League after leaving Brisbane Broncos.
“I’m delighted for Brodie because the media battered him,” said Brierley.
“He was compared to Cooper Cronk and he’s nothing like him. He’s a runner, he wants freedom.
“Cronk was very strategic and process-driven, in a structured Melbourne team. Brodie never wanted to be that, he wanted to be an exciting ball-runner.
“It’s brilliant to see him with a smile on his face because I watched him in the NRL for years and I never saw him smile once.
“He’s come over here and the shackles have been released. I’m proud of him for what he’s had to go through, to reignite his career.”
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