RYAN Brierley scored 16 points on his Leigh Centurions comeback as John Duffy’s side returned to the top five of the Betfred Championship.

Brierley’s first game of his month loan spell saw the Toronto Wolfpack half back grab a second half try and kick six goals in a comfortable win at Mount Pleasant.

The 27-year-old’s previous game for Centurions had been a 32-all draw at Bradford Bulls in February 2016.

With Martyn Ridyard deployed at full-back covering the absence of injured Gregg McNally, Brierley partnered Josh Woods in the halves.

Leigh trailed briefly early on before taking charge of the game with three tries in nine, second quarter minutes.

An 18-6 advantage was trimmed to 18-12 by the break but another three touch downs in the second half ensured Centurions collected only their second away Championship win of the campaign.

“Ryan’s been there and done it in his career and now he needs to get his career back on track and enjoy his rugby,” said head coach Duffy.

“Josh, Riddy and Ryan controlled the game and Ryan, on his second debut, looked really classy for us.

“Going in at half-time with a lead meant everything,” added Duffy. “We knew how hard it was defending that slope against the big Batley forwards.”

Brierley, who has featured only sparingly for Brian McDermott’s Championship leaders this year, said: “It’s been a very frustrating and confusing time for myself, these last six months.

“But I’m now fully focussed on playing to best of my ability for John and Leigh Centurions.”

Batley led 6-0 after Alistair Leak’s converted try inside seven minutes but Leigh hit back through Iain Thornley’s latest try, the first of Jack Higginson’s brace and one from Stefan Marsh.

Jonny Campbell kept Matt Diskin’s Bulldogs in the game with a 38th minute touch down but it was as close as they came to a fourth successive league win.

Brierley booted a 58th minute penalty before racing over for a touch down he also converted.

Eaves crossed 10 minutes later to press home Leigh’s advantage and Higginson, back from a loan spell at Rochdale, added his second a minute from time after Jo Taira’s excellent consolation for the home team.

To complete a positive afternoon for the club, Toulouse’s 30-26 success over York dropped the Knights down to sixth place on point difference.

There was also a top five set-back for Widnes Vikings , surprisingly beaten 25-24 at home by Dewsbury Rams.

Match stats:

Batley: Scott; Reattie, Smeaton, Wood, Campbell; Jouffret, Brambani; Bienak, Leak, Everett, Manning, Downs, Taira; substitute: Brearley, Brown, Butterworth, Ward.

Tries: Leak (7), Campbell (38), Taira (78).

Goals: Scott 2/4.

Leigh: Ridyard; Higginson, I Thornley, A Thornley, Marsh; Woods, Brierley; Douglas, Higham, Brooks, T Adamson, Laithwaite, Emmitt; substitutes: Hood, Cator, Spencer, Eaves.

Tries: I Thornley (23), Higginson (30, 79), Marsh (32), Brierley (61), Eaves (71).

Goals: Brierley 6/7.

Referee: John McMullen

Half-time: 12-18.

Attendance: 1,240.