Saints legend Paul Sculthorpe previews the champions’ Betfred Super League Magic Weekend clash with Huddersfield Giants at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon (14:15).

St Helens vs Huddersfield Giants Tips

  • St Helens to win by 13+ points @ 11/8

I’m on record supporting IMG coming in and trying to improve our game in a commercial sense, but I believe one of the things that could fall foul to these changes is Magic Weekend, which looks like it could be cut completely from the Betfred Super League calendar.

I don’t know the financials of Magic Weekend and the impact on club’s playing an extra round in a neutral stadium, but I’ve always been a fan of this unique spectacle.

It’s something our sport has been proud of for years – the ability to take a full set of fixtures to one city over a couple of days, seeing 12 sets of fans mingling with zero trouble.

I know it’s always been spoken about as an extra cost to supporters and a potential impact on the Betfred Challenge Cup and Super League finals, but I hoped this is something we could have kept in the diary and maybe even built on.

Magic has no doubt attracted new fans to the sport, especially in recent years since taking to the wonderful city of Newcastle. St James’ Park has been home to this concept for a good few years now – and the Toon always welcomes its rugby league visitors.

So, if this weekend is to be the last, let’s go out with a bang! Here’s my predictions for the six games:

I think Hull KR will be determined to make up for that loss to Wigan last week – a game they should have won. They face the Salford Red Devils, who themselves enjoyed a good win over Hull FC. I think this could be game of the weekend, and I’m going for a close Rovers win!

The second game sees Wigan face Catalans Dragons. As always, you can never write of the Warriors – but they aren’t playing well at the minute and have a big injury list. I’m going for a Dragons win.

Leeds, who showed their fighting spirit against the Saints on Friday, face the lowly Castleford Tigers who sit 11th on the Betfred Super League table with only two wins so far this season. Again, neither team are ripping up trees at the moment, but I can’t see past a Rhinos win.

Then, in Sunday’s opener, we could well see more doom and gloom for Mark Applegarth’s Wakefield who face one of the form teams in Super League – Leigh Leopards.

Wakey are yet to register a point this season, whereas Adrian Lam’s side go into the game in fifth place having demolished league leaders Warrington by 30-12 last weekend. I’m obviously going for a Leigh win.

Saints then face an inconsistent Huddersfield Giants. The champions showed a lot of fighting spirit last Friday to edge out the Rhinos at Headingley, but will be looking for a vastly improved performance at St James’. The Giants have underachieved this season and I’m envisaging a Saints win by 13 points or more (11/8 at Betfred).

Finally, it’s Warrington and Hull FC who close the show in Sunday’s finale.

Both sides come into this with a point to prove after last weekend’s defeats. FC went down 29-22 to Salford at the AJ Bell and, like Huddersfield, have had a terrible season to date with only five wins from 13 games. Wire, meanwhile, will be looking to get back to winning ways – and I think they will.

 

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