SUPER League heads to the Geordie shore this weekend as Magic Weekend takes place at St James’ Park.
All 12 teams will play in league fixtures on the same iconic home of Newcastle United over Saturday and Sunday.
It all kicks off with Widnes facing Wakefield before St Helens take on Hull and Warrington and Wigan meet in a rematch of last year’s Grand Final.
Then on Sunday, it is all back to the stadium for Huddersfield v Catalans and Leigh v Salford before a tasty West Yorkshire derby between Castleford and Leeds rounds it off.
But why is Super League staging a whole round of fixtures in Newcastle? Why Newcastle? What can I expect?
SunSport gives you the lowdown on two days of action.
Why is Super League in Newcastle?
SIMPLY the Rugby Football League is looking to grow the game, hence the Magic Weekend concept.
This is the 11th time it has been staged and the third year in a row in Newcastle.
Cities bid to host the jamboree every year and Newcastle has been most popular, with estimates that it brings £4 million into the local economy.
And it takes the game outside the M62 corridor. Previously, it has been staged at Cardiff’s Principality, Murrayfield in Edinburgh and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
How many fans are expected?
In the past two years, Magic has proved popular in the north-east, attracted a record 68,276 fans last year.
However, Super League’s executive director, Roger Draper, admits people may get tired of the same venue as a slight dip is expected in 2017.
As it stands, more than 60,000 tickets have been sold and bosses hope a combined crowd of about 65,000 will attend.
THERE is still a chance Magic Weekend could stay in Newcastle for 2018, but a move looks ever more certain.
Manchester may bid to take it back but Liverpool is also likely to put in an offer after the success of holding the Four Nations Final at Anfield, which attracted more than 40,000 fans when England were not in it.
Coventry, which hosted an international double header last year, is also thought to be interested in hosting Magic Weekend.
There is even a chance it could move to London, with Paris and Barcelona – which has hosted a Super League match before – also proving popular options.
Whoever gets to host the 2018 Magic Weekend will be decided after the Rugby Football League puts it out to tender.
AS MAGIC Weekend has proved, anything could happen.
There was Jordan Tansey’s controversial last gasp try for Leeds against Bradford, when replays showed he was well off-side as Kevin Sinfield took a penalty that bounced back off the post.
There was David Hodgson walking the line as Hull KR came back to beat rivals Hull FC.
Then there was Jacob Miller’s drop goal from the halfway line for Wakefield last year.
One of the rules of Magic Weekend? Expect the unexpected.
Where can I watch it?
ALL SIX Super League games will be broadcast on Sky Sports.
From 2pm on Saturday, you can put Sky Sports 2 on and then give the remote a rest as all three Saturday games are broadcast on that channel.
On Sunday, Catalans v Huddersfield and Leigh v Salford are being shown on Sky Sports Mix then the Castleford v Leeds game is on Sky Sports 2.
Why are teams wearing kits that make them look like super heroes?
NOT ALL are but five of the sides will look like super heroes after a link up with Marvel and kit makers ISC.
Leeds seemingly take the honour for the nicest one with their Captain America design, while Warrington’s players will resemble Thor.
However, Hull FC will be more like Hull-k FC with their striking shirt, which shows the Hulk’s muscles bursting out from beneath their kit.
Catalans (Iron Man) and Wakefield (Spiderman) will also be joining in.
Which players should I look out for?
ABOVE all the celebration, the fanzone and this year the kits, one group will shine out above all – the players.
In total, 204 stars will take to the field over the next two days, we’ve picked out six of the best.
BEN JONES-BISHOP (Wakefield) GIVE him an inch and the Trinity winger would probably take a mile. Once he breaks clear, there is hardly any stopping him.
MAHE FONUA (Hull) LOOKS like Bond villain Jaws with his metal teeth but Hull’s Tongan star can destroy any defence given the chance.
GEORGE WILLIAMS (Wigan) ENGLAND ace should make a return from injury and it could not be better timed. On his day, he is arguably Super League’s best player.
JERMAINE McGILLVARY (Huddersfield) WINGER has proved he is one of the best. When he gets going, there is very little stopping him.
BEN MURDOCH-MASILA (Salford) BACK-ROW ace is a monster of a man and when on his game he can be a monster of a player. Can monster many defences.
LUKE GALE (Castleford) PROVED his class in England’s recent Test win over Samoa. Scrum-half can seemingly create something from nothing, then do it again.
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