Reasons to watch (and miss) the other five Magic games

Representatives of all 12 Super League clubs at Newcastle's St James' Park earlier this week
Representatives of all 12 Super League clubs at Newcastle's St James' Park earlier this week

WIGAN’S blockbuster against Leeds will take top billing at the Magic Weekend - but travelling fans also have five other games to take in over the two-days at St James’ Park ...

SALFORD v WIDNES (Saturday, 2.30pm)

Why it might be worth watching?

Salford are under fire after sliding to 11th in the table, but they are only two points behind Widnes – who occupy the vital 8th spot. The tightness of the table may create a tense encounter. Kevin Brown is firing for the Vikings, while the Red Devils’ battling spirit was present and accounted for in last weekend’s loss to Warrington.

But...

Salford currently have a distinct lack of talent, with many of their better players sidelined, while Widnes won their first game on grass last weekend, at lowly Wakefield... this game may lack quality.

Don’t say...

“Salford, where are your fans?” – their following has been embarrassing this year, much to owner Marwan Koukash’s frustration.

Look out for...

Widnes’ special one-off kit, in the same design as Newcastle’s iconic football strip, which is raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. A classy touch.

HULL FC v HULL KR (Saturday, 4.45pm)

Why it might be worth watching?

It’s a Hull derby, and while these two teams are the frequent under-achievers in Super League, it should have spice. Since losing the Easter derby, FC have won four of their six games – including the scalps of St Helens and Warrington – but KR have proved they can perform on their day.

But...

Both sides are outside the top-eight for a reason. They have each won six of their Super League matches, suggesting they aren’t likely to mix it in the play-offs.

Don’t say...

“You know Wigan-St Helens is much bigger, right?” – This is the only derby from two teams in the same city. As KR and FC fans are quick to point out.

Look out for...

KR’s halfbacks. Terry Campese is in fine form, while Albert Kelly may be lively with the ball, but he has made comfortably more missed tackles (62) than any other Super League player.

CATALANS v HUDDERSFIELD (Sunday, 1pm).

Why it might be worth watching?

To see if Catalans can finally, finally, nail a performance on the road. To see if their polished display against Wigan last week was a one-off. And to see why/how Huddersfield have climbed to fourth in the spot, with the best defence in the competition, without anyone taking much notice.

But...

They’ll have few fans there. Catalans are notoriously poor travellers. And for some reason, it’s just hard to get excited about Huddersfield. Is it their style of play, or their track record of falling away?

Don’t say...

“Scott, Zeb, what’s it like to go back to Newcastle?” – Both Dureau and Taia starred for the Knights in the NRL before moving to France.

Look out for...

Those two players, and Todd Carney. They were outstanding last weekend against the Warriors.

ST HELENS v WARRINGTON (Sunday, 3.15pm)

Why it might be worth watching?

These two teams usually serve up treats, and this should be no exception. Warrington have lifted for big games – against Leeds (two wins), St Helens and Wigan (losses by eight and 10 respectively) – while Saints are cruising along in second spot, a point ahead of Wigan.

But...

Saints are still grinding out wins, probably as No.7 Luke Walsh is absent, while Warrington’s main failings this year have been at halfback.

Don’t say...

“Why is this not on last?!” – The game is on second, so fans can leave and get back to the north west at a reasonable hour – unlike recent Magic events, this isn’t on a Bank Holiday weekend.

Look out for...

Flying wingers. Gene Ormsby scored a hat-trick last week - including a spectacular third try which saw him dive over the sideline but ground the ball – while Tommy Makinson also has great aerial skills.

CASTLEFORD v WAKEFIELD (Sunday, 5.30pm).

Why it might be worth watching?

Straws. Being. Clutched. Okay, here we go... maybe Wakefield may get a long-awaited win. Maybe the prospect of a new coach arriving will draw a good performance from them. Maybe it will be a great derby between these Yorkshire rivals. Maybe...

But...

Justin Carney, Castleford’s most blockbusting star, is injured and there aren’t many other players who catch the eye from a neutral’s view.

Don’t say...

“What was your coach thinking?!” – Wakefield are yet to appoint a successor to Aussie James Webster.

Look out for...

Fans. Don’t be surprised if the match finishes to a near-empty stadium, as supporters swerve the most uninspiring of all the six fixtures and set off for home.