FORMER Leopard Ryan Brierley celebrated his 300th career appearance with two tries as Salford defeated local rivals Leigh 32-22 at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The full-back was watched by a big group of family and friends, and he was at the centre of everything in the first half, including being sin-binned, as the Red Devils opened up a 20-6 lead.

Leigh briefly threatened a comeback in the second half, with Umyla Hanley completing a hat-trick, but their miserable start to their second season back in Super League continued.

Leigh Journal:

Joe Mellor made a belated first start for Salford against his former club but the key man in the first half undoubtedly was Brierley.

The home side had the better of a quiet opening and in the seventh minute they were awarded a penalty after Brierley was held back by Lachlan Lam as he tried to get on the end of Marc Sneyd's grubber kick.

The video referee decided against awarding a penalty try but Lam was sent to the sin bin and Sneyd kicked the two points.

Brierley then ensured Salford made the most of their numerical advantage with a first try in the 13th minute, eschewing the pass out wide to run through before Sneyd added the extras.

Leigh needed a response and they found it in the 27th minute after Robbie Mulhern sent Matt Davis away. He did not have the legs to reach the line but the Leopards kept the move going and Hanley eventually went over in the corner.

Salford quickly re-established their grip on the game with another moment of inspiration from Brierley giving him a second try in the 32nd minute as he exploited a gap in the Leigh defence to score under the posts.

Four minutes later Ethan Ryan showed good strength to cross in the corner.

The half ended on a sour note for Brierley, who was sent to the sin bin for pushing Hanley into touch as he chased a kick, and Matt Moylan scored the penalty just as the hooter sounded.

With Brierley on the sidelines, Leigh pushed hard for a way back into the match early in the second half, but superb defence from Salford denied them any points.

Restored to 13 men, the Red Devils extended their lead in the 56th minute - Sneyd crossing and then kicking the goal after great work from Oliver Partington to keep the ball alive.

Lam ended a swift break by crossing to give Leigh some hope, and they were back within 10 points after a long spell of pressure resulted in Hanley running in, although Moylan could not make the kick.

But a knock-on by Josh Charnley left Leigh boss Adrian Lam with his head in his hands as the pressure on Salford relented, and Ryan put the game to bed in the 74th minute with his second try after a long video review.

Sneyd took his tally for the game to 16 points with another kick, and Hanley's third try came too late to make a difference.