SAM Luckley is hoping to wow even more Geordies by starring on home soil as the Super League heads towards Toon.
And he believes it’s time to keep Magic Weekend following the success of football club Newcastle, even though strategic partner IMG has ensured the game is over.
If they get their way, it would be the last time all six league games would be played on the same pitch in a non-inland area.
And that despite a total of around 65,000 spectators expected, despite more children than ever playing the game in the North East and despite the host city being optimistic about a return to the Champions League.
All of that leaves North Shields native Hull KR ace Luckley convinced it should stay.
He said: “Losing Magic would be disappointing. Personally I would be disappointed too.
“I’m excited to see what could replace it as I don’t think there is anything like this event. It’s a great concept – they’re even doing it in the NRL.
“We usually take ideas from them, so it’s a nice change when it’s the other way around. Newcastle was a great host city and as an idea you should compete with that.
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“And I’ve seen rugby league take hold in the city. What Newcastle Thunder are doing in creating talent paths, scholarships, an academy and even a university connection is tremendous.
“More children are definitely getting involved. Thunder is doing a great job reaching out to the community and with a little more patience it will thrive.
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“Newcastle may be a football town, but there’s more to it than that. We are now trying to throw more into the balance and take more sports to a higher level.
“It will take a little while but we are on the way and things like Magic Weekend are great for Newcastle rugby league and the game as a whole.”
“You don’t even have to be a rugby league fan to see Magic and enjoy the spectacle. In the last round there were intense games with exciting finishes – hopefully we’ll get more this weekend.”
Prop Luckley is no stranger to feeling the high spirits at St James’ Park, not least because of his beloved Newcastle United’s success this season.
Last year he scored a try at Gallowgate End, repeating Alan Shearer’s legendary celebration.
This time he has another item on his agenda: follow in the footsteps of Eddie Howe’s men against former club Salford – and expect him to be there for the opening of the event.
The 27-year-old added: “All my friends and family will be there and we are game one. Hopefully we can start the weekend well and then I can join them and relax with them.”
“Last year was one of the best moments of my life but I’ve never won at St James’ Park – having just edged out Wigan and Warrington we can be confident they will fly.
“And I would trade my attempt for a good win there, and you’ve seen quite a few wins there. I’m thrilled that Champions League football is coming.
“It gave everyone momentum, everyone is a little bit happier. Newcastle’s success strengthens the city and other sports in the city.
“And as soon as rugby league takes off, we will fly.”
MAGIC WEEKEND SCHEDULE – ALL MATCHES LIVE AT SKY SPORTS ARENA
TODAY: 1:30pm – Salford v Hull KR; 3.45pm – Wigan v Catalans; 6pm – Leeds v Castleford
MORNING: Noon—Wakefield vs. Leigh; 2.15pm – St Helens v Huddersfield; 4:30pm – Hull vs Warrington