Magic formula is adjusted to give Super League big lift-off

MILLENNIUM MAGIC will return next year but in a new position on the calender as a bumper kick-off to the start of the Engage Super League season.

Cardiff's Millennium Stadium will host all seven round one fixtures on the weekend of February 12 and 13 after clubs agreed to switch from the traditional May Bank Holiday slot and also ditch Edinburgh.

Murrayfield had catered for the last two Magic Weekends but, after consultation with clubs, supporters and a perusal of various other venues, it has been decided to head back to the Welsh capital which held the inaugural event in 2007 and the following year.

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England captain Jamie Peacock first mooted the idea of opening the campaign with the Magic fixtures in an exclusive Yorkshire Post interview almost four months ago – albeit suggesting Wembley rather than Cardiff – in a bid to set Super League off with a bang rather than the subdued early offerings it has endured recently.

It seems the Leeds player's suggestion has won favour and also it is believed there will be a return to the traditional derby fixtures – such as Leeds versus Bradford, Wigan against St Helens and the all-Hull battle – for the first time in two years although that will not be confirmed until next week.

However, the Yorkshire Post also understands many Super League clubs were ready to take up the option of cutting the weekend altogether but Sky TV's desire to see it continue means it has been extended.

There is a fear, being so early in the year, adverse weather could affect attendances but the stadium will close its roof for the entirety to ensure the action is not hampered while it is hoped yesterday's early announcement may help cash-strapped fans, coming so soon after Christmas, budget accordingly.

Meanwhile, Huddersfield Giants are hoping to ruin Wigan Warriors' evening tomorrow as the current campaign heads into its crucial final stages.

A draw would see the Warriors seal the League Leaders Shield on their home ground and finish top in the regular season for the first time since 2000.

The last time the famous club won anything was two years later when they lifted the Challenge Cup, Giants' 23-try winger David Hodgson a member of the victorious side.

"I didn't realise it had been that long since they won a trophy,"said the Hull-born player, who was dumped just two years later. "I was disappointed at the time. I did five years there and still live in Wigan but you try and get over it.

"It's going well here with Huddersfield. I'm having my best season in terms of tries and we're looking pretty good ourselves going into the play-offs.

"We want to take Wigan's scalp – we need two points ourselves and it would make them wait another week."

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats host Warrington tomorrow knowing their explosive Samoan hooker Tevita Leo-Latu, like departing captain Jason Demetriou, will be playing his last game at Belle Vue.

Leo-Latu announced yesterday he will play for Salford next season after agreeing a two-year deal with the ambitious City Reds. Young centre Matthew Fox could debut after being recalled from a loan spell at Dewsbury.

Hull KR head to Salford having been told by Australian prop Willie Mason – also attracting interest from Huddersfield – to make him an offer for 2011.