Magic Weekend 2014: Event a great opportunity, says Stevo

Last Updated: 19/05/14 5:08pm

Magic Weekend: Huge opportunity for lesser names, says Stevo

Magic Weekend 2014 will be one of the biggest moments in many Super League players careers, Stevo told Boots 'n' All.

All 14 Super League sides will be in action at the Etihad stadium in Manchester this weekend for the annual showcase event.

"The atmosphere of the Magic Weekend has been absolutely tremendous and, for those guys coming in, it's like their Wembley, their Grand Final."

Stevo

And, despite the contests only counting as regular season fixtures, for a large number of competitors it will be a rare chance to perform on one of the biggest stages in the sport, says Sky Sports rugby league expert Stevo.

"With the greatest respect to some of the players at the lower clubs, they don't get the opportunity to play at Wembley or to go to a Grand Final at Old Trafford, so this is a big test for these young players to come through," he said.

"The atmosphere of the Magic Weekend has been absolutely tremendous over the years and, for those guys coming in, it's like their Wembley, their Grand Final.

"I look forward to it and think it's great. I remember when it was first mooted and they brought it out, a lot of the players were complaining but these young kids can put themselves in the shop window. It's a great opportunity for them."

Occassion

Phil Clarke, meanwhile, pointed out the significance of Magic Weekend for the sport as a whole.

He told Boots the event is the perfect opportunity for rugby league to broaden its fan base and attract new, enthusiastic followers - and players - to the game.

"We needed some landmark events because the sport suffered from not having enough occasions for people to go to, enough memories for people to take away from the season - and this gives that," said Clarke.

"The Magic Weekend gives the opportunity to spread the word. I hope we can capture that interest, harness it and bring people to the game in the future."

Showcase

Clarke reckons it is also a golden opportunity for lesser lights to make a name for themselves - and young players in particular to forge a reputation in front of the Sky Sports cameras and packed stadium.

"What we found out last year was this Magic Weekend is a chance for new talent to showcase itself," said Clarke.

"Morgan Escare was outstanding last year. We didnt know much about the young French full-back and Brent Webb was the big name we expected to play at the back for the Dragons. But a new French player came onto the scene, on a fast surface, with a great crowd, and rose to the occasion.

"Players want to play at their best for this event, with all seven games shown on TV. It's almost a talent competition for every player who is selected in round 13."