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Makinson wary of Widnes challenge

Widnes's Danny Walker and St Helens' Tommy Makinson set to go head to head at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle
Widnes's Danny Walker and St Helens' Tommy Makinson set to go head to head at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle
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There are 18 points between them in the table but Saints winger Tommy Makinson knows all too well how the Magic Weekend can change fortunes.

He was in the St Helens team that went into last year’s event reeling from a 53-10 Challenge Cup hammering at Castleford only to turn form its head with a 45-0 rout of Hull in coach Justin Holbrook’s first match in charge.

“Last year, we were the underdogs and look what happened,” Makinson said. “These events can help you kick-start your season and give you a lift.

“Sadly, they’re sitting at the wrong end of the ladder at the minute but I think they’re a great team.”

The match will mark the 200th appearance in the British game of Widnes’ Australian full-back Rhys Hanbury.

The Magic Weekend kicks off with a clash between Toulouse and Toronto, the top two teams in the Betfred Championship, and that is followed by the derby between leaders Saints and Widnes.

Warrington’s fortunes have been transformed by a 10-match winning run which sets them up nicely for their derby clash with Wigan.

And last season’s grand finalists Leeds and Castleford will bring down the curtain on a mouth-watering first day.

The Rhinos enjoyed the spoils at Old Trafford but the Tigers got their revenge at Elland Road in March, holding on for a nail-biting 25-24 victory after at one time leading 24-0.