There may not have been much to cheer at St James’ Park over the last season, but there’ll be plenty of thrills and spills over the next two days as the Magic Weekend returns to Newcastle.
Last season a record crowd of 67,788 packed the stands of Newcastle United’s famous ground for one of the most eagerly-anticipated events in the rugby league calendar.
All 12 Super League sides will play over Saturday and Sunday as the Magic Weekend celebrates its tenth birthday.
There’s plenty to look forward to on both days, and we take a look at some of the top bets to be had across the six fixtures.
Salford v Widnes (Sat, 14:30)
Salford and Widnes open the weekend on Saturday afternoon with the Red Devils looking to claw back the six points they were recently deducted.
The sides would have been level on points if it hadn’t been for Salford’s punishment, but it’s Widnes who currently the hold the last spot in the top eight.
They come into the game in terrible form though, having lost their last seven league games, and look set to fall to another defeat in Newcastle.
Best Bet: Salford -14 @ 2/1
Warrington v Castleford (Sat, 16:45)
Table-topping Warrington will be hoping to bounce back from their defeat to Wakefield last week, while Castleford were imperious in their 52-12 away demolition of Leeds last Thursday.
Luke Dorn scored a first-half hat-trick in that game for the Tigers before announcing his intention to retire at the end of the season.
Warrington have stuttered a little recently – with just two wins from their last five in Super League – and will be made to work hard by an exciting Castleford team.
Best Bet: Luke Dorn to score at anytime @ 6/4
Leeds v Wigan (Sat, 19:00)
Saturday finishes with what would usually be a top of the table between two modern Super League greats, but not this year as Leeds’ woeful season sees them rooted to the bottom of the table.
Wigan, however, are just two points off top spot, with both sides coming into the game on the back of home defeats last week.
There’s every chance marquee signing Sam Tomkins could make his first start since returning to Wigan, and he loves performing on the big stage.
Best Bet: Sam Tomkins to score the first try @ 8/1
Wakefield v Catalans (Sun, 13:00)
Sunday’s first game pits two of Super League’s form sides against each other in Wakefield and Catalans.
Wakefield have been flying since Chris Chester took the helm, winning six of their last seven to move up to sixth, while the Dragons have performed consistently all season and are joint top.
Chester’s side have beaten Huddersfield, Leeds, Wigan and Warrington already this season and are more than capable of claiming another scalp on Sunday.
Best Bet: Wakefield +8 @ 10/11
St Helens v Huddersfield (Sun, 15:15)
Despite being separated by 12 points in the table, St Helens and Huddersfield can barely be split in the betting, with the Saints giving away just a -2 point handicap.
The Giants may have won only three games this season, but of late they have looked much like their old selves, while Saints bounced back from their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup exit by beating Salford last week.
This is more or less a must-win game for the Giants if they still harbour ambitions of making the Super 8s.
Best Bet: Huddersfield to win @ 6/5
Hull FC v Hull KR (Sun, 17:30)
What a game to finish the Magic Weekend as the two Hull clubs meet in what will no doubt be another fiercely-contested derby.
Hull FC are flying at the minute – level on top of Super League with 20 points – while their city rivals Hull KR have only recorded four wins in the league all season.
They’ve played out some corkers at Magic Weekends gone by, but the Airlie Birds look too strong for the Robins this time around.
Best Bet: Hull FC -10 @ 10/11
For more Super League odds click here.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing