Talking Sport - Magic weekend turns sour

Saints fans enjoying the atmosphere at the Magic weekend but the club's performance was anything but magical
Saints fans enjoying the atmosphere at the Magic weekend but the club's performance was anything but magical
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Substitute the word magic for tragic and it perfectly sums up Saints’ record since the two-day Rugby League extravaganza moved to the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, in 2012.

Sunday’s rather embarrassing 41-24 defeat at the hands of neighbours Warrington was their third in the space of as many years and followed the 48-22 setback against the Wolves in 2013 and the previous year’s 42-16 drubbing by arch-rivals Wigan Warriors.

Whether the Magic Weekend returns to the home of Barclays Premier League champions, Manchester City, next season remains open to debate as there are plans to increase the gate capacity to around 60,000 and may result in the stadium not being available.

That may be a blessing in disguise for Saints and their fans who can be excused for thinking they are suffering from a Etihad hoodoo but not surprisingly the RL powers-that-be are keen to stay put after last weekend’s record-breaking success.

The two-day spectacular attracted a total crowd of 64,552 - the highest-ever for an unique event which was first launched at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, in 2007 in a bid to promote the sport country-wide.

Super League chairman Brian Barwick, quite rightly, described it as ‘a memorable weekend’ in which all the fans were ‘spoiled’ and also went

out of his way to thank all those involved in its success, the clubs, players, fans and Etihad staff who went out of their way to ensure a ‘carnival atmosphere both inside and outside the ground.’

A crowd of 36,339 (the biggest ever for a single day) witnessed four matches on the Saturday while 28,214 supporters filed through the turnstiles for the three Sunday fixtures, including the bill-topping Saints-Warrington Wolves showdown.