Widnes Vikings hooker Jon Clarke will forget his close friendships with his former Warrington Wolves team-mates when he faces his old club for the first time at Magic Weekend on Saturday May 26 (4.00pm).
The Vikings’ 2012 recruit missed out on the previous Stobart Super League fixture against the 2010 Carnegie Challenge Cup holders through injury and now relishes the Magic Weekend challenge at Etihad Stadium, Manchester, against his former club.
“I think it will be a strange experience,” said Clarke. “I spent 10 years with Warrington before moving to Widnes, so my first match against my old mates will be unusual. But as soon as that whistle is blown they are not my mates for 80 minutes.
“I still live in Warrington and my neighbours are Ben Westwood and Garreth Carvell so it will be weird to play against them, but I am looking forward to facing my old team.
“I will be able to give my new team-mates some tips on individual players and style of play to help us to perform against them. Warrington are a team full of internationals and have had some good results this season so we will have a tough challenge on Saturday.”
Although Clarke is a Magic Weekend veteran, this will be the first appearance for Widnes Vikings in the seven-game extravaganza, and Clarke hopes the Widnes fans travel in droves to Manchester’s Etihad Stadium.
“I think the Magic Weekend is a great idea,” said the hooker. “My only concern in past events has been the distance that fans had to travel, but bringing it to Manchester where it is hugely accessible is fantastic.
“It is an impressive stadium and I think this year will be the best Magic Weekend yet.
“It is the first time Widnes have been involved in a Magic Weekend, which is exciting for the club and everyone involved. I am sure the Widnes fans will turn out in force to support the team and enjoy a great weekend of Rugby League.”
Day tickets for the Magic Weekend are selling fast and cost from just £30 adult and £15 concession. Tickets for the full weekend cost from just £45 adult and £22.50 concessions and are available by calling 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk.
The 2012 Magic Weekend schedule in full is:
Saturday May 26
1.00pm - Castleford Tigers v Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
4.00pm - Warrington Wolves v Widnes Vikings
7.00pm - Hull FC v Hull KR
Sunday May 27
12.00pm - Catalan Dragons v London Broncos
2.00pm - Huddersfield Giants v Salford City Reds
4.00pm - Bradford Bulls v Leeds Rhinos
6.00pm - St Helens v Wigan Warriors