Hull clubs take centre stage for magical weekend in Manchester

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The Hull derby will bring a fascinating climax to the first day of the Magic Weekend in May.

The Rugby Football League yesterday announced details of the event which this year takes place for the first time at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

They have decided to make the always compelling Hull FC v Hull KR tie the occasion’s centrepiece by playing it in the prime evening slot on Saturday, May 26 (7pm).

The action gets underway with another traditional rivalry as Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats face each other in the opening match at 1pm.

In between, 2011 minor premiers Warrington Wolves renew hostilities with promoted neighbours Widnes Vikings (4pm).

Champions Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls then play their traditional derby as one of four fixtures on Sunday, May 27.

That game kicks off at 4pm ahead of the weekend’s finale –Wigan v St Helens (6pm).

Earlier in the afternoon, Huddersfield Giants face Salford City Reds (2pm) and Catalan Dragons take on London Broncos (noon).

Day tickets for Magic Weekend cost from just £30 adult and £15 concession. Tickets for the full weekend cost from £45 adult and £22.50 concessions.

Leeds have received a significant boost with news that Kallum Watkins, their highly-rated young centre, has signed a new five-year deal.

England hopeful Watkins, 20, is now committed at Headingley Carnegie until the end of 2016.

Rhinos coach Brian McDermott said: “Kallum is an exciting young player who has proven that he can perform at the highest level.

“I know that he is now hoping to do that on a consistent basis after unfortunate injuries have frustrated him in the past as he looked to get a run of games under his belt.

“He was an important player for us in our Cup run last season and he has looked good in pre-season training having added bulk to his power and pace.”

Bradford have broken with tradition to announce joint-captains in 2012 – former Leeds hooker Matt Diskin and fellow No 9 Heath L’Estrange.

“By naming them both we will have a natural leader – in the position that touches the ball the most – on the field throughout the game,” explained head coach Mick Potter.