The Liam Farrell Column: Just like being a fan

I was a real rugby league fan at the weekend.

Thursday, 26th May 2016, 4:00 pm
Taulima Tautai takes the ball up at Magic Weekend

I drove up to the Magic Weekend with Anthony Gelling, and we had a good time.

Gells is great company, even if he’s looking a bit dodgy right now – he’s not cutting his hair until the end of the year!

We had a walk around Newcastle and it seems like a great city, with plenty going on. I can see why it’s a popular choice for the Magic Weekend.

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I missed last year’s Magic Weekend, too, so I’d never been to St James’ Park before.

I was surprised how big it was.

The fans all seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was interesting, as a player, to experience the Magic Weekend as a fan – it didn’t matter who they were there to watch and support, they all just got along and had a great time.

And the stadium there helped create a great atmosphere. Can you imagine what it would be like full?

I really think they should look at it for future England internationals, it would be great.

We got there for the Warrington-Cas game and, in the second-half especially, it was a great attacking display by Cas’.

Denny Solomona added a couple to extend his lead as top tryscorer but he also makes a lot of metres for them, making carries down the middle.

He’s among the players we’ll have to look out for tonight.

When they came to the DW earlier this season, we got the win but it wasn’t an easy game.

On their own ground it’ll be even harder – the combination of vocal fans, an old-school ground and a small pitch all work in their favour.

We’ve got it into our head we need to go there and do a job.

But I’m sure the lads will be confident, particularly after the performance against Leeds.

There was a spell in the first half when we were really impressive.

Sure, there were times when we made silly errors and it wasn’t flowing, but that was still one of our best performances of the year and when we did play, we showed what we can do.

Sam had real quality, I spoke to him afterwards and he said felt 50 times better than in his comeback game the week before.

We look a different side with him in there, and I’m sure we’ll only get better and better.

As for Leeds, there’s not much more to say, is there?

There is no shortage of effort from their players – they’re obviously trying – but confidence is such a vital thing in sport, especially at this level, and they seem to be really short right now.

I know they can, mathematically, still make the top-eight before the Super-8s begin but it’ll be a tough ask, especially if they lose at Warrington this week.

I think they’ll need to get their heads around the fact they’ll be in the Qualifiers – the ‘Middle 8s’ – when the season splits.

Liam Farrell was speaking to Phil Wilkinson