Dean Hadley on Magic Weekend and his football loyalties

Josh McAllister

Hull back-rower Dean Hadley has hailed the Magic Weekend concept and says St James’ Park isn’t the only major football ground he hopes to play this season.

Newcastle will host it’s fourth consecutive Magic Weekend this year after spending three years at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

Championship sides Toronto and Toulouse will kick-start the occasion, with the Hull derby closing the curtains on the Sunday.

“The game has to develop in other areas to help the sport grow and improve and not be left behind,” said Hadley

“For me as a sport we need more big games and more games that feel like an event to attract new fans.

“The Magic Weekend is a perfect concept to take to different areas and help promote our sport but getting the ground sold out for both days has got to be a priority so that a demand is created.

“I’m a massive fan of Magic Weekend and think it’s a great concept and event to promote our sport to hopefully a wider audience.

“As a player it’s great to be able to play at such a fantastic ground which we don’t get to play at on a regular basis and gives the games a real big game feeling about it.”

Hadley spent the 2017 season on-loan with Wakefield, playing a big part of their top six finish, and after an impressive season returned to Lee Radford’s side with a starting spot.

The 25-year-old has been named in Radford’s 19-man squad as Hull look to make it two wins from two against the Robins in 2018, previously beating them 30-22.

The cross-city derby will return for the first time since 2016, following Hull KR’s recent promotion back to the top flight.

“For me it’s the best and biggest derby and more times than not these games always provide a bit of drama and great action,” said the second-rower.

“As a local lad and as a Hull fan the derby means a lot to me and my family as I have supporters of both teams in my family, so it’s a big occasion.

“Scoring against Rovers at Magic in 2014 was good, but unfortunately we didn’t get the win so it wasn’t a great day but it was nice to get a try as I don’t get many.

“I think in 2016 the Easter derby where we scored 20 points in the last 20 minutes to come from behind and win was a massive win.

“I didn’t play but to watch the boys do what they did played a big part in the rest of the season.”

Hull FC recently progressed to the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup after defeating Featherstone Rovers 38-20, but the victory came with consequences, as Carlos Tuimavave, Fetuli Talanoa and Josh Bowden limped off the field, whilst Bureta Faraimo was shown a red for a dangerous tackle.

However, the Yorkshire-based side recently announced the signings of Kirk Yeaman and Liam Harris to help ease injury struggles.

“We’re obviously happy to have made it through to the next round and looking forward to the quarters,” said Hadley.

“Unfortunately we’ve picked up a few more injuries and struggling a bit at the moment but all teams go through it and there’s certainly no excuses. To be honest it’s a great opportunity for some young players to get some games and as a group it’s a challenge but one to look forward to.”

Hadley, an admitted Reds fan in the football world, has expressed his delight to play at a Premier League stadium, but admits he dreams of playing at one of the most historic stadiums in the world.

“I’m a big football fan and support Man United so hopefully I get the chance to play at Old Trafford.

“If selected then the opportunity to play at St James is one I’m looking forward to, it’s such a big and historic stadium and is a perfect fit for the Magic Weekend.”