Smith: Spread the Magic far and wide

Matty Smith
Matty Smith

Matty Smith gave the Newcastle Magic Weekend the thumbs up – but would be happy to see it moved.

Wigan maintained their impressive record at the annual ‘on the road’ event with a 40-8 victory over basement boys Leeds in Saturday’s headlining match.

Rugby Football League officials will today begin their debrief of the six-game festival.

And with 68,276 fans attending over two days, up from 67,788 on 2015, Newcastle may be in the frame to stage the event for a third successive year.

Manchester wants to take it back to the Etihad and London’s Olympic Stadium has been talked as a possible venue for 2017.

Smith said: “I love the Magic Weekend.

“We’ve always done well in it but I do like the concept, and again we’ve seen some quality games.

“I’d love to see us take it to other places as well. I think it’s good to move it around.

“I’d like to see it down in London - Arsenal’s Emirates, maybe - and I think it’d be a success wherever it went.

“You’ve seen how many fans there are and everyone has bought into it.

“It had a bit of a slow start at the Millennium and we’ve been to Murrayfield and Etihad, and I thought the atmosphere at St James’ Park was fantastic.

“It’s a great experience for the players - we were in Newcastle’s changing rooms - and playing at a big ground like that, it wants you to push on and get to the finals this year.”

Wigan led 12-4 at half-time thanks to two Willie Isa tries, and scored five further tries in a one-sided onslaught, with Smith striking six goals.

“Were happy with the result,” said the England halfback.

“Two points was a must after two poor performances in the league, Leeds are obviously doing it tough at the minute but we knew individually they have some outstanding players.

“We knew they’d turn up in front of a big crowd and we dug deep in the first-half, and were better in the second-half.”

The win came at a cost with Sean O’Loughlin limping off early with a leg injury, which threatens to rule him out of Thursday’s trip to Castleford in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Wigan are fourth in Super League after the Magic Weekend, level on points with Warrington and Catalans Dragons, with Hull FC’s win over Hull KR yesterday moving them to the top of the table.

Prop Tony Clubb faces a three-month lay-off with a neck injury.

Shaun Wane says he suffered the problem in an illegal ‘crusher tackle’ during the loss to Hull FC, which was missed by the match review panel.