Wigan Warriors to play at Liverpool FC's Anfield next year
Wigan Warriors are returning to Anfield '“ nearly three decades after their last appearance at the venue '“ in next year's Magic Weekend.
The Warriors will again take on Warrington in Super League’s annual ‘on the road’ round, in the headlining slot on the Saturday (7pm).
Super League decided to move from Newcastle’s St James Park, venue for the last four Magic Weekends, to Liverpool for the first time.
But some fans have already pointed out the date – the weekend May 25-26 - clashes with the city’s ‘rock ‘n roll’ running events including the Liverpool marathon, which passes by Anfield.
The fixtures have been picked based on last year’s table – 1st v 3rd, 2nd v 4th and so on – to ensure teams won’t play opponents they face during the extra ‘loop’ games which will pad out the season to 29 rounds.
It means St Helens will face Castleford, there will not be a Hull derby, and Leeds have been handed a Magic date against newly-promoted London Broncos.
The decision to take the event away from Newcastle, which has hosted the last four Magic Weekends, was ratified today by the Super League board.
Super League chief executive Robert Elstone, a former chief executive of Everton, said: “On behalf of the Super League clubs, we’re delighted to be taking the Dacia Magic Weekend to one of the most famous stadiums in the world.
“Anfield and Liverpool Football Club have embraced our sport - throughout all our discussions on the Magic Weekend they made it very clear to us that they wanted that relationship to continue.
“The game should be proud that Anfield has become a rugby league venue.
“I had the privilege of working in the city for more than a decade and I know Super League fans will have a great time not only at Anfield but in one of our country’s most vibrant and exciting cities.
“The place is special - it’s a perfect fit for the celebratory atmosphere of Magic.
“I’d also like to thank the City of Newcastle and Newcastle United for hosting the Magic Weekend so well over the past four seasons.
“They’ve created so many great memories for Super League and our fans, and have set the bar very high for Liverpool. Newcastle has inked its place into Super League history.”
The 54,000-capacity Anfield recently staged England’s second Test against New Zealand and staged the Four Nations final two years ago. Wigan played there in 1991, when they beat Penrith to win the World Club Challenge.
Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester have previously staged Magic Weekends and the concept is being copied by the NRL next year.
The Sun has reported Newcastle’s St James Park may be used to stage the Challenge Cup semi-finals double-header next summer.
2019 Dacia Magic Weekend fixtures:
Saturday, May 25
2pm - Wakefield v Catalans Dragons.
4.30pm - Hull v Huddersfield.
7pm - Wigan v Warrington.
Sunday May 26
1pm - Salford v Hull KR.
3.30pm - Leeds v London Broncos.
6pm - St Helens v Castleford.