Leigh legend John Woods was first to congratulate Ryan Brierley after seeing his long-standing club record broken at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday.
Brierley scored a fantastic hat-trick in the Centurions’ 26-18 win in the final home game of the season. His first try saw him to 200 career tries, his second saw him overtake Woods and become the second-highest try-scorer in Leigh’s history.
Brierley ended the match with 154 tries for the Centurions, two ahead of Woods, but still with a long way to go to surpass the tally of the late Mick Martyn, who scored 189 tries in the Cherry and White.
Woods was as quick off the mark to acknowledge Brierley’s achievement as he was during his playing days.
“Records are made to be broken and I’m delighted for Ryan,” Woods said. “He’s done very well to score that many tries and it’s a fine achievement.
“When he hangs up his boots one day and looks back on his career, I’m sure he will be very proud- and rightly so. He has been a very good player for Leigh and is very popular with the supporters.
“It would be nice if he can carry on his try-scoring and look to get closer and even beat Mick Martyn’s record one day. I’d like to pass on my sincere congratulations to Ryan and wish him all the best.”
Brierley was humbled to learn he had overtaken Woods’s record.
“It’s only just beginning to sink in,” he said. “John Woods is a Leigh icon and has a statue outside the ground in his honour. To think I have beaten a record held by someone of his stature makes me very proud and very grateful.
“I’m greatly honoured to be even mentioned in the same breath as John Woods, and this record means a great deal to me and my family. I’ve played my best rugby at Leigh and the club means a lot to me.”
Brierley has scored 202 tries in 237 career games.
He has scored 154 for Leigh in 155 games, with 15 tries for Huddersfield Giants, 26 for Toronto, 3 for Hull Kingston Rovers and 4 for Scotland.
Woods scored 152 tries for Leigh in 349 games for the club.
His career tally of 236 tries came from 553 games and included 21 tries for Bradford, 25 for Warrington, 16 for Rochdale Hornets, 13 for Great Britain (12 in tour games, one in a test), 2 for England, 2 for Great Britain Under-24s and 5 for Lancashire.