LEIGH Centurions have sent out a statement of intent to both the Kingstone Press Championship and First Utility Super League by tying down the futures of their first-choice halfback pairing on full-time deals.
Both Ryan Brierley and Martyn Ridyard have been in fine form so far this season.
Brierley recently became subject of speculation linking him with a move to Salford following a record-breaking start to the year that saw him become the first Leigh player to claim three consecutive hat-tricks. He now has 12 tries in just four games.
Ridyard, meanwhile, is closing in on two personal milestones. Having debuted five years ago, he has both 150 appearances and 1,000 points within reach this season. “We’ve extended Martyn’s terms by another two years,” football director Derek Beaumont said.
“It will run as a full-time contract from next year.
“As for Ryan, he is already on a contract for this season and has signed an improved deal for the rest of this year and the next two seasons.
“It is worth noting there are no Super League get-out clauses in any of our contracts.”
Brierley added his relief, stating: “I am glad it is now sorted, but I didn’t really expect it.
“I enjoy playing alongside Martyn and am sure I can learn even more from him with full-time training. With Paul’s game plans and Martyn’s skill, we’ll keep working hard.”
Ridyard added: “It’s something that we’ve spoken about over the past 18 months, the opportunity has come and hopefully we can push forward towards Super League.
“Any player will benefit (from being full-time). It’s a different lifestyle altogether, instead of working in bad weather and then training in bad weather, you are getting looked after.
“We are still pretty new as a half-back pairing. It was only halfway through last season when we started a game together. It’s showing this year that we have come together a bit more.”
Head coach Paul Rowley said: “Ryan is very ambitious. He wants to play Super League and he wants to be full time but the biggest thing for me is not how fast Ryan is or how skilful he is, nor how he can pass a ball. It is how grounded and how level headed he is.
“It also shows our ambition as a club, with Ryan and Martyn and the retention of further players throughout the season. It shows our intention to be full-time and to progress as a force and start a legacy at the club.”
Rowley added: “Out of everyone at this club, Martyn would benefit the most from being full-time, the amount of times that he’s run to training after being late home from work. He is a labourer, he grafts and isn’t stuck in an office. The improvement in Martyn, both in skill and physical attributes, full-time training will bring that to him. We will see him kick on to a new level. I think that he is wonderfully gifted. We hope to see better things from an already very good player.”
Both players are available for selection for Leigh’s Challenge Cup third-round game against Wigan St Patricks at Leigh Sports Village tomorrow, Friday, kick off 7.30pm.