Tom Briscoe is the center of attention after losing the number 2 jersey at Leeds Rhinos Yorkshire News

The former England international was awarded jersey number 20 when he arrived from Hull FC in 2014, but having scored a hat-trick on his debut against Hull KR, it was no surprise that he rose to number 2 the following year.

Having toppled Ben Jones-Bishop, he has held him back ever since and has been Leeds’ regular right-back with England’s first star Ryan Hall and later Ash Handley patrolling the left flank.

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However, that is so far; Leeds have signed David Fusitu’a from the New Zealand Warriors, the Tonga winger who flew in on Monday, and manager Richard Agar has presented him with that jersey.

Instead, Briscoe is back to 20 by 2022 and while team numbers obviously don’t always have a direct link to match day picks, in this case it seems they do.

It’s true that Briscoe impressively finished the 2021 campaign as a left center, forming an excellent partnership with Handley and keeping main star Konrad Hurrell out of the 13 starters.

It looks like it will be the 31-year-old’s best shot at a spot next season, which kicks off with Channel 4’s first live televised Super League match against Warrington Wolves on February 12. Briscoe said The Yorkshire Post: “I was a bit disappointed to lose that number two jersey.

“Rich has given it to Dave and if everything goes according to plan I would expect him to start there, but it’s not the end of the world.

Leeds Rhinos’ Tom Briscoe is in winter training at Headingley and knows he has a battle to win a starting spot in the Super League next season. Image: Allan McKenzie /

“Rich has spoken to me and told me of his thoughts and plans.

“I will be a challenge for that position at the center. I’m happy to challenge that and we’ll see what happens.

“I’m having a good preseason, trying to get stuck in that and putting myself in the best possible position to try to start in center.”

And people often forget that Briscoe, a two-time Grand Final winner with Leeds, started his career in that position before, ironically, Hagar, then in charge of Hull, switched wings.

Tom Briscoe from Leeds is tackled by Sam Tomkins from the Catalans. Image: Allan McKenzie /

“All the way to the Hull Academy I was a center and made my debut as a center,” recalled the Featherstone-born player.

“In 2010 I even had jersey number three. But it was when Gareth Raynor got injured and didn’t play for Hull again that he (Agar) put me as a substitute on the wing. He seemed to do quite well so he left me there and I’ve played there ever since. “

However, Briscoe certainly showed his old center qualities in the second half of the last term, which will have given Agar food for thought. England hopeful Harry Newman has the right center slot stitched, but, with Hurrell moving to St Helens, who will play on the left is more opaque.

Liam Sutcliffe had been starring there before succumbing to a long-term knee injury in August.

That saw Briscoe, who passed 350 career games last season, get a chance to complete it and he admitted: “I loved it. I loved playing downtown. You get a little more involved in both offense and defense, which I enjoyed.

“For next season, we have Harry, Sutty and Jack Broadbent, so we are all in the same boat.

“Obviously Sutty is not training at the moment, but when he comes back he will obviously be in contention about it and then Jack will fight as well.”

Earlier this year, the RFL awarded Briscoe a three-month testimonial for his services to the sport and that officially begins today with a special Christmas lunch in Headingley.

As he approaches his 15th Super League season, and the final year of his contract, he will also play in the Boxing Day game against Wakefield Trinity.

“I’m fit and well, so I thought I would be playing; I will not have the pleasure of releasing that game! Briscoe joked, before admitting he’s not the biggest fan of holiday accessories.

“I’ve done enough of them, though, to know what to expect. Obviously it’s been nice not having to play the last few years, but it doesn’t matter that much to me. “

Meanwhile, the Yorkshireman has been busy off the field as well, having just started a PhD in sports physiology and performance at Leeds Beckett University.

Briscoe, who has a bachelor’s degree in sports and exercise science, said, “I want to dedicate myself to lecturing and teaching at the university and doing a little research on the side where the PhD came in.

“I thought it would be a good job and asked to see what the next steps were to be able to do that job when I finished rugby.

“This was the next step. It was an easy transition just to go from one grade to another. “

Like his change from wing to center.

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This notice was published: 2021-12-14 17:48:45

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