IT’S that time of year when again when Super League takes its magic away for the weekend to bring fans from all 12 clubs togbether for six games of frenetic action.
Salford and Widnes kick off proceedings on the Saturday, with Caslteford and Warrington to follow befreo the clash of two heavyweights in Leeds and Wigan on Saturday evening.
Wakefield are first up at Newcastle’s St James’s Park on Sunday when they face Catalans Dragons before Huddersfield Giants tackle St Helens and the Hull derby brings matters to a close on Sunday evening.
We’ll be bringing you all the action throughout the weekend but, for now, Ben Law highlights a few things you may or may not know about Magic Weekend ...
1. The Rugby Football League (RFL) set up the magic weekend in order to help expand the sport and attract new fans. It also allowed the Super League season to be reduced by one game, this was something the RFL had been trying do for a while as it was believed that players were put under too much pressure with the amount of games during a season.
2. Four different venues have hosted the Magic Weekend. These include he Millennium stadium in Cardiff, Murrayfield in Edinburgh, The Etihad Stadium in Manchester and, currently, St James’s Park in Newcastle.
3. The 2015 event in Newcastle was the most successful in terms of attendance, with 67,788 people attending the games over the two days.
4. The record win at the Magic Weekend came in 2010 at Murrayfield when Warrington beat Salford 68-16. Castleford Tigers’ 56-16 win over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in 2015 is the biggest winning margin among the Yorkshire clubs.
5. Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR are tied among four teams for the most victories at the Magic Weekend event with six wins from nine games. The other teams who join them on six wins are Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors.
6. Bradford Bulls have the worst record in the event’s history with only one win from their eight games, losing to local rivals Leeds on four occasions.
7. One of the most memorable matches in the previous nine years of the Magic Weekend was the Hull derby in 2012 in Manchester. Hull KR dramatically stole the points at the death thanks to a stunning 70-yard solo try from David Hodgson, to make the final score 32-30.
8. The Magic Weekend hasn’t been short of controversy over the years. Back in 2007 in a match between Leeds and Bradford Leeds were awarded a penalty and a chance to win the match late on. Sinfield took the penalty which struck the post and Rhinos’ Jordan Tansey followed the ball in for a try to snatch the points from Bradford. However, it should not have stood as replays showed Tansey was clearly stood in an offside position when the penalty was taken, but the referee failed to refer the decision to the video referee.
9. Another notable controversial incident occurred in 2013 between Hull FC and Hull KR. With the scores level heading in to the closing stages a high kick was collected by Hull FC’s Chris Green and he went over for the try. The decision was sent to upstairs to the video referee. The replays showed that Green was clearly in an offside position but the video ref was tracking the wrong player and wrongly awarded the try and Hull FC won the game.
10. The venue for the 2017 Magic Weekend is still not known, with the most likely destination being either Newcastle or Manchester, after the recent stadium developments were completed at the Etihad. However, Hull have also expressed an interest in hosting the event to coincide with the city being awarded the City of Culture for 2017.