The rugby league clans are set to gather again this weekend in Manchester for what will surely be another cracking Magic Weekend.
Last year’s decision to move the event to Manchester was more than justified by the quality of the whole event, with supporters, players and administrators all contributing to a great two days of rugby league in the sun.
But it would be wise to remember that the game is not all about Super League. There is a full programme of Championship and Championship One ties taking place too.
Some of these, like Halifax at Sheffield Eagles on Friday night are truly mouthwatering, while others are taking place in new southern outposts of the game like Hemel Hempstead.
All of these games will be graced by great moments of courage, speed and skill, just like the ones at Magic, and there are sure to be some real thrillers.
So if you are a Super League fan without a ticket to Manchester, or you have to stay at home for some reason, why not venture to a Championship match this weekend?
Clubs are all in need of the extra finance that increased ticket sales can bring, and also the revenue generated by spectators buying food and drink at the ground.
There is also the chance now to see some of Super League’s top talent, with the controversial dual registration scheme bringing names as big as Lee Briers into the second tier for some games.
There is also a surprising number of players plying their trade in the Championships who are in with a good chance of playing at this year’s World Cup.
Liam Finn of Featherstone Rovers will captain Ireland, while Sheffield Eagles have a host of Scots, as well as Samoa’s Misi Taulapapa and Quentin Laulu-Togagae, as well as PNG’s Menzie Yere.
A host of others play every week for other clubs in front of the lower tiers’ modest crowds too. So wander along to a game if you fancy seeing some international stars in action this weekend, and help give these players a bigger audience.
With the quality of some Championship games, would it not also be a good idea to add a Championship game to the Magic Weekend next year?
It would balance up the event to two four-game days, and give some of the second tier’s players a chance to shine in a big stadium.
Of course, the proposed structural changes to the leagues may well have unforeseen consequences for the Magic Weekend in future, but it would still be nice to see Championship players and fans given a chance to grace the occasion.