Super League rugby stars can’t wait to get back into the Newcastle Magic Weekend vibe
Tens of thousands of Rugby League fans will be in Newcastle this week for the Magic Weekend, which is set to bring millions of pounds to the city.
The annual Super League celebration sees an entire series of games played at St James’ Park on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th July. Newcastle has become a home for rugby league fans, having hosted the Magic Weekend five times since 2015.
“The atmosphere is always brilliant, there’s a different feeling, it’s kind of like a big party,” Mark Percival at the St Helen and England center told ChronicleLive.
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“I think bringing all the fans together is a great thing for the game.”
St Helen’s take on arch-rivals Wigan Warriors at St James’ Park on Saturday, with Toulouse taking on Wakefield and Leeds taking on Castleford.
“We’re really looking forward to the atmosphere when we get here, loads of different fans, from different teams, the whole rugby league family coming together, making for a great weekend,” Warriors hooker Sam said. Powell ahead of Saturday’s derby with St Celle d’Hélène.
“When you drive you see all the fans from different teams. Our fans always make the most of it, come for the weekend and really support us. When you get to get out on this [St James’ Park] pitch, it’s great, the one we’re really looking forward to.”
The weekend is also an opportunity for newcomers to watch rugby league before Newcastle host four Rugby World Cup matches this autumn. Newcastle’s World Cup fixtures include the tournament opener, England v Samoa, at St James Park on Saturday 15 October 2022.
“I don’t think they will be disappointed if they make the effort to come. It’s fast, high skill, with a great atmosphere all day,” added Sam, a Wigan man.
Hull FC striker Chris Satae said: “I’m looking forward to the atmosphere. Newcastle is always a great place to come to, the whole rugby league community will be here at such a beautiful big stadium.
“I played in a Magic Weekend last year, for the first time and the atmosphere was great, I can’t wait to be there again.
There will be three games each day. Sunday’s fixtures also include a derby between Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers.
Newcastle and the annual Super League Magic Weekend have become a game of heaven. This year’s tournament will see around 60,000 people attend matches over two days at St James’ Park during football’s off-season.
The event injects around £9million into the local economy, with rugby fans packing up hotels, restaurants and bars over the weekend, said NE1 chief executive Stephen Patterson, who works with the Super League, Newcastle City Council and Newcastle United to help organize Magic Weekend.
Fans benefit from a stadium in the city center on neutral territory surrounded by places to eat, drink and stay, the city receives an influx of tourists. Since Magic Weekend first took place in Cardiff in 2011, its three best weekend attendances have been in Newcastle, a rave endorsement of the city by rugby fans.
“What I love about Magic Weekend in Newcastle is that it’s not just about rugby or the city. It’s become something more than the sum of its parts,” added Stephen.
Tickets remain on sale. Fans can choose to purchase tickets for Saturday, Sunday, or the full weekend. Head here to buy.