Huddersfield Giants prop Eorl Crabtree is predicting that Magic Weekend will showcase Rugby League in the best-possible way when the First Utility Super League hits Manchester on Saturday and Sunday (May 17 and 18).
With past Magic Weekends providing unrivalled drama, coupled with the fact that results in Super League this year are more unpredictable than ever before, Crabtree feels that the seven matches will do wonders for the sport’s profile.
“It is a massive opportunity for Rugby League to showcase how good it is,” said Crabtree. “As a player it is a fantastic experience playing in such a fantastic stadium, on a great pitch with all the fans from different teams.
“You look around the crowds and see all the different jerseys – it is unique to Rugby League, simply because we get all of these fans together, in almost perfect harmony, singing and enjoying themselves.
“It is just a great chance to watch some spectacular sport being played. We have big derbies and it is a chance for fans to get a sense of what Rugby League is all about.
“There are always some great games, great skills, great tries – the list goes on. It is just an amazing experience for the neutral, and for anybody, to come down and watch.”
This is the third successive year Magic Weekend has taken place at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, and Crabtree believes that the city which has hosted every Super League Grand Final – as well as the 2013 Rugby League World Cup final – is the perfect place for the 14 top flight clubs to converge.
“It is a great city, full of great sports teams,” said Crabtree. “We are very lucky that we get to come and play Rugby League in this great city with so many fans of the sport.
“I think it is a massive chance for us to get fans down and make the most of it. If we can sell more tickets and try to raise the profile of the sport, then that’s just fantastic.
“There are a lot of teams who don’t get the chance to play in big finals and this is an opportunity for those teams who won’t be in the play-offs or make the semi-finals and finals, to get to play in front of a massive crowd in a great stadium.
“As a player we class it as an away game and prepare in exactly the same way. But there is a lot more hype about it, which is nice to play in.”
Tickets in the East Stand upper tier at Magic Weekend on Saturday May 17 cost £20 for adults and £10 for concessions. Tickets for Sunday May 18 costs from £25 for adults and £12.50 for concessions: weekend tickets cost from £40 (£20 concessions) and can be purchased by calling the 24-hour Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk.