It’s a big week for rugby league as we play in the first Super League game in SKY’s Monday night live slot before heading off to the Magic Weekend in Manchester.
They couldn’t have picked a much bigger game than a repeat of last season’s Grand Final to kick-off the new Monday night rugby league, which was announced as part of the new SKY Sports deal to televise Super League earlier this season.
We then head off to the Etihad Stadium in Manchester for the annual Magic Weekend event, which once again promises to be a good showpiece for the sport.
It’s always good to open up the game to new people, and hopefully the football fans that head off to the pub to watch Monday night football will continue to go to watch rugby league. Leeds v Saints should be a cracking game.
There is a problem in that it’s not too good for the kids – my lad Lewis won’t be able to come and watch – but there are bigger things to look at to make it a success.
The players always like something different, although it will be a bit strange to wake up on a Monday morning knowing that you’ve got a game that night. In the NRL, that is something the players are used to and it’s all about your mental adjustment to the day, almost having to kid yourself in to thinking it’s Friday.
The change in routine doesn’t bother the players too much. It will be weird going in on a Sunday for a team meeting and preparation, as we don’t really do that apart from on Easter weekend, by which stage we’re usually all knackered anyway!
We were beaten by Bradford over the Easter weekend, and the Magic Weekend gives us a chance to avenge that loss.
For the players, it’s much better that the Magic Weekend is being held in Manchester, in comparison to a six hour coach journey to Cardiff. They’ve sold around 50,000 tickets so far I’m told, so hopefully that number will keep going up this week.
It should be a better event at Manchester, and the players enjoy doing something different. We need the stadium to be full to create a great atmosphere; it doesn’t look too good on the TV if the stadium is half empty.
It will be interesting too to see what the set-up is like at the Etihad in comparison to Cardiff. With there being a load of games, you have to share changing rooms, although it’s not too much of a problem as most of the players know each other pretty well as it is.
Some of the lads will want to watch all the games, but I’m not too fussed by it all; all I want to do is beat Bradford.
They’ve gone for the derby fixtures again this season which sees, amongst others, Wigan take on St Helens and Warrington take on Widnes. It is perhaps a little difficult for Wigan in comparison to Warrington, which makes it slightly unfair, and you’re now in the situation where Wigan could play St Helens 5/6 times this season (three league matches, once in Challenge Cup and possibly twice in the play-offs).
My thoughts are that the games should be drawn out of a hat. Fans will still attend to watch the games, I don’t think we need the games to be derbies to sell tickets. It all depends on how the RFL plan it. Do they want to attract new fans, or do they just want it to be a showpiece event for rugby league?
But it’s good for TV, it’s good for the fans to go, and it’s good for new fans, who have a pick of the games to watch over the weekend.
You can follow JP on Twitter @JamiePeacock10
Jamie Peacock’s All-Star Activity camps are running throughout the summer for 6-14 year olds at six different venues. The fun-packed camps will teach children new skills in rugby and other sports. To find out more and book your child a place, visit www.jamiepeacock.co.uk