Wigan Warriors ace Liam Farrell would like to see Magic Weekend move to London


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LIAM Farrell hopes Super League does not lose its Magic and would like to see it invade the capital.

All 12 clubs are heading to St James’ Park in Newcastle for the annual two day festival of rugby league.

Liam Farrell would like Magic Weekend to stay – and maybe move to London

But after three years on Tyneside after stints at Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester, Magic Weekend is likely to move again next year.

Executive director Roger Draper admitted a lethargy can creep in towards holding it at the same venue, as a slight dip from last year’s record 68,276 attendance is expected.

Liverpool, which held the Four Nations final in front of 40,000 fans last year, and Coventry, where an international double header was held, are set to bid for the 2018 event.

Some people would like to see the concept scrapped all together, even though it has made the Rugby Football League a profit in recent seasons, because they believe the 23rd game can create a skewed league table.

Liam Farrell

Liam Farrell is a big fan of Magic Weekend

Wigan ace Farrell, however, would like to see it moved to London.

England played Australia there last year and the Warriors have themselves played a Super League match down there.

They also play regular pre-season games against either Championship side London Broncos or League One London Skolars.

“I like the concept and I think they should keep on going with it,” said Farrell, who is set to make his first appearance at Newcastle.

Wigan hope to beat Warrington at Magic Weekend

Wigan hope to beat Warrington at Magic Weekend

“Everyone is buying into it and all the clubs like the idea of it. I’m not to sure about where we should go next but the idea of it is definitely something we should keep.

“It might be a tough one, but I like the idea of playing Magic Weekend in central London and maybe finding a stadium down there to play it at.

“Somewhere like the London Stadium would be really good. You need to be quite central and somewhere like that would be ideal.

“You have to think about things around the stadium, where fans can enjoy themselves, too. It’s certainly something for the RFL to think about.

St James' Park remains one of the biggest stadia in English football

Rex Features

St James’ Park plays host to Magic Weekend today and tomorrow

“Rugby league is there to be given something like this as everyone can interact with each other and as the years have gone on, this concept has got bigger and bigger.

“If it keeps on going and growing, we’ll see even better results.

“The concept has had its doubters over the years but the RFL has kept going with it and we’ve seen some really good results from it.

“And in terms of attitudes towards the game from the players, intensity definitely creeps up a little bit just because it’s something different and everyone wants to perform.”

The Olympic Stadium is set to host cricket matches at the 2019 World Cup

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Liam Farrell would like to see London Stadium host Magic Weekend

Future of Magic Weekend aside, Farrell – who has signed a new five-year deal at Wigan – has the more immediate aim of helping Wigan to a win in tonight’s Grand Final rematch with Warrington.

He will at least not feel as old as he has in recent weeks – even though he is only 26!

Injuries robbed coach Shaun Wane of up to 17 players, meaning he has had to raid the seemingly bottomless pit of talented youngsters.

And even though he is only in his mid-20s, Farrell ended up feeling like an old head.

Wigan are the current World Club champions

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Wigan are the current World Club champions

He added: “I don’t know about old, I’m perhaps feeling more experienced than I probably am.

“But it’s a challenge for us and I like the idea of all these young lads coming in. They’re doing a really good job and making a name for themselves.

“Even though we may have had some iffy results lately, we’re still in a decent place with the lads coming in.

“We’re 13 games into the season. If we start moping around now, things aren’t going to get much better, are they?

Wigan have been hit by injuries – but Farrell still sees hope

Wigan have been hit by injuries – but Farrell still sees hope

“So we should definitely see it as a challenge and even in our last few games there have been plusses.

“Against Salford, we were very capable of winning that game. We just didn’t start well and that’s been the case in a few games we’ve had.”

Wigan end the first day of Magic Weekend tonight with a Grand Final rematch with Warrington, who Wigan could face six times this year.

Skipper Sean O’Loughlin and star half-back George Williams are likely to return and Farrell hopes Shaun Wane’s men do not fall into the same trap as the games against Salford and Castleford.

Wigan players celebrate after winning the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford


Wigan won the Grand Final by beating Warrington last year

He said: “The difference has probably been the intensity of the starts and making sure we can cope with that.

“That’s something we’ve been good at – making teams start with our intensity.

“But it’s something we’ll have to change as it’s been creeping into our game a bit and we need to make sure we do the things we’re really good at.

“And it seems like we play Warrington every other week now!”

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