Wigan Warriors- Talking Rugby: The reaction of Matty Peet's side will be key following their Magic Weekend derby defeat
Wigan Warriors will be hoping to bounce back from their derby defeat as they welcome Hull FC to the DW Stadium on Friday evening.
A return home is exactly what Matty Peet’s side need following their narrow 20-18 loss to St Helens at the Magic Weekend.
The stadium and the fan zone was bouncing for their last home outing against Toulouse, and hopefully it will be the same again.
The game itself will be far from easy for Wigan.
Hull enter this game on the back of a derby win, and while they do have some things to fix up, they’ll have a confidence about them.
They also beat the Warriors in their previous meeting and pushed them very close in the game prior to that.
The key for Wigan will be picking themselves up from the Magic Weekend defeat, and reacting in the right way.
A big blow will be the absence of John Bateman, who has broken his rib.
They will also be without Brad Singleton for the next three weeks, following his red card and subsequent ban.
The decision has created a lot of debate.
It was a poor challenge, you can’t argue against that, with some form of punishment always expected in that situation, but the colour of the card did seem harsh and a yellow would’ve been sufficient.
While the decision to send Singleton off has been one of the main talking points, it shouldn’t take away from what a good match it was between the two rivals.
As usual, the Warriors and Saints delivered in terms of providing a match of high intensity and pure drama.
The two teams sit at the top end of the Super League table for a reason, but you can also see why Kristian Woolf’s are just ahead.
Wigan have closed the gap on their opponents, but of course it is going to take time to truly overtake a team that has been so dominant for the last few years.
Both sides produced wonderful moments at St James’ Park, and it’ll be another must-watch when the two meet again in August.
While the match was of high quality, so was the day as a whole.
The majority of rugby league fans are probably in agreement, Newcastle is the best place to host the Magic Weekend.
Everyone seemed up for the occasion, and the atmosphere was superb.
It was great to see the Wigan fans dominating the Gallowgate End, and really getting behind the team.
There’s something brilliant about a city centre stadium.
A can sense that St James’ Park is a special place as soon as you enter the city, as it makes up a fantastic skyline as you drive across the Tyne.
The streets were buzzing throughout Newcastle ahead of the first game on Saturday, with fans spread out from the quays to the fan zone outside the ground itself.
If anyone with no knowledge of rugby league had booked a city break there, it’s safe to say they might’ve been a bit confused.
A great thing about any Magic Weekend is seeing fans of all the clubs in Super League, and beyond, come together as one.
While normally divided, plenty of rival fans enjoyed the day together, with any trouble being minimal.
There was something great about seeing Wigan and Saints fans together walking through the city before the start of the proceedings; although it might’ve been a more tense journey home.
A highlight of the weekend was the reaction of the Toulouse fans, after they watched their team come from behind to beat Wakefield.
While there weren’t many of them, they certainly made plenty of noise from their seats just behind the press box.
And, why shouldn’t they be passionate, with Sylvain Houles’ side claiming their most important win of the season.
This truly does set up a relegation battle, and judging by the way Wakefield collapsed, you wouldn’t bet against Toulouse climbing out of trouble.
With three consecutive home games coming up for the French side, it’ll be interesting to see how the table looks at the start of August.
Since the conclusion of Sunday’s action, many people have been discussing where the Magic Weekend should be held in future years.
It probably should return to Newcastle again next year while the demand is still there, but beyond that the authorities should be looking at other alternatives.
It’s far too easy to stand still and make a safe decision because something works well, but a risk sometimes has to be taken.
A great thing about the Magic Weekend is that it takes rugby league to new places where the sport might not be as popular.
While it’s a good day out for the already loyal fans, it can also introduce other people to the game.
Most recently they’ve tried Anfield, and it didn’t really feel the same due to it not being in the city centre.
That would probably be the case with a lot of places, so that would only create the need for a fan zone which has plenty to offer and privately run transport to make access easier.
Most major cities in the UK would be a good option, but the concept should never be moved to London or anywhere overseas, as making it affordable for the fans should be the most important thing.
Finally, last week there was the sad news of the passing of Ben Woods.
His brother Josh, who previously played for Wigan, was named player of the match in Newcastle Thunder’s victory over Bradford Bulls, as he put in an instrumental performance in what was an emotional night.
My thoughts go out to the family and friends of Ben following the tragic accident.