Wilkin believes Magic Weekend can bring in new fans

St Helens skipper Jon Wilkin believes that Magic Weekend can help rugby league to extend its geographical reach in the UK.

Magic Weekend is taking place at St James’ Park, home of Newcastle United FC, this year, and Wilkin thinks that there is a natural fit between our game and the sporting mentality of the North East of England.

“Rugby league has been confined geographically to a certain area for some time now,” he said, speaking at this week’s Magic Weekend launch in Newcastle.

“Part of the strategy for growth has to be getting out into new areas.

“In Newcastle the population is sports mad. They’re very passionate with a very strong regional identity.

“I think we, as a sport, can associate with that, and it’s a good place to come and let some people see what rugby league has to offer.

“It’s a dead honest sport, rugby league, it’s physical and aggressive, and I’m sure that will sit well with people in this part of the world.”

Saints take on Warrington at 3.15pm on the Sunday afternoon, and Wilkin is hoping for revenge after the Wolves emerged triumphant at last year’s event in Manchester.

“They spanked us last year, so we owe them one,” he said.

“I still have nightmares about last year’s game!

“But you’re playing in a big stadium in a big game, and a bad performance there can live with you.

“Our performance at Magic last year is certainly fuelling our preparation for this week’s game.”

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