With Magic Weekend just around the corner, we take a look at the six games that are to take place over two days at St James’ Park.
SALFORD RED DEVILS V WIDNES VIKINGS
The opening game of this year’s event is a carbon copy of the opening game in 2015, a game in which the Vikings were able to come out on top in a 38-16 victory.
The Red Devils come into this game with most of the attention being focused on Marwan Koukash and his battle with the sport’s governing body, but on the field they will be hoping to eradicate a two game losing streak with a win here.
Denis Betts welcome Kevin Brown and Chris Bridge back from injury into the 19-man squad, whilst Stefan Marsh returns from suspension, in the hope that his side can halt their slide down the Super League table.
WARRINGTON WOLVES V CASTLEFORD TIGERS
The league leaders come into this game with Castleford Tigers off the back of a surprise defeat at the hands of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, and will be wanting to cement their place at the top of the table this weekend.
Daryl Powell’s men will be heading to Newcastle in buoyant mood following their convincing 52-12 victory over the champions Leeds Rhinos at Headingley.
Luke Dorn has announced he will retire at the end of the season since the game, and will want to go out in style, starting with a performance this weekend. Ben Roberts also makes a return to the Castleford 19-man squad for this weekend’s game with Warrington.
LEEDS RHINOS V WIGAN WARRIORS
The Champions still sit bottom of the Super League following their humiliating 52-12 defeat at the hands of Castleford last Thursday night. Brian McDermott will be hoping his side can turn their form around and quickly, with their chances of making the top eight getting slimmer and slimmer.
With Danny McGuire back in the side and minutes under his belt, the Rhinos look a different proposition for Wigan this weekend. McDermott has spoke of the possibillity of the return of Brett Delaney to the ranks as well, which can only improve the Rhinos this weekend.
Shaun Wane’s men are also heading into this fixture on the back of a defeat to Hull FC at the DW Stadium, and questions are now being asked of the Wigan head coach from supporters and media alike.
Wane does have Sam Tomkins back in the fold following his second debut for the club last week, a game in which he scored, and the former New Zealand Warrior could be the key for the Warriors as they aim to keep touch with Warrington and Catalans at the top of the league. Shaun Wane also welcomes the return of Ben Flower to his 19-man squad.
WAKEFIELD WILDCATS V CATALANS DRAGONS
Wakefield and the Dragons open up Sunday’s event with a game that has the potential to be a cracker given the form of both teams.
The Wildcats are currently undergoing a resurgance under Chris Chester, emphasised by an impressive win over Warrington Wolves last weekend, and will be hoping to beat another team at the top this time around.
The Dragons were victorious last weekend, beating a spirited Huddersfield Giants at the Stade Gilbert Brutus last Saturday. However, the win came at a cost with Richie Myler hobbling off during the game, and it being revealed that he is to miss six weeks with a groin injury.
ST HELENS V HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS
St Helens gained a morale-boosting win over Salford Red Devils last week following their cup defeat to Hull FC, and will be wanting to put together a string of results together to ease the pressure on Keiron Cunningham.
Jonny Lomax hobbled off last weekend and it is unclear as to whether he will be fit enough to take part on Sunday, with no new returnees from injury for the Saints.
The Giants are slowly but surely putting together a run of results and performances following an inconsistent start to their 2016 season. Two wins over Leeds in a week, and a spirited defeat in the south of France shows the quality of Paul Anderson‘s side, and will be hoping to beat the Saints this weekend to push further up the table.
HULL FC V HULL KR
The Hull derby at Magic Weekend rarely disappoints and we’re expecting no different this weekend.
The Black and Whites currently hold the bragging rights in this game, with their comeback from 20-0 down in the Good Friday tussle between the two sides, and will be hoping to win once more in Newcastle, just like they did in 2015.
Lee Radford boasts a team bang in form following their win at the DW Stadium over Wigan, and has a fully fit squad to chose from in this game as well.
Hull KR head coach James Webster will be hoping to build on their victory over Widnes Vikings last weekend with a derby victory, and push themselves closer to the top eight with the split into the Super 8’s getting closer and closer.
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