After six exciting games at the Magic Weekend, there is plenty of talking points, and the last nine games of the season have been set up for a close finish.
A relegation battle is officially on
Toulouse came back from a twelve-point deficit, as they scored five tries in fifteen minutes. The momentum seemed to be turning after Toulouse’s victory last week, but Saturday’s result has put the momentum with Toulouse. The French side remain bottom, but just two points behind Wakefield, and with a far superior points difference, just one result can turn the relegation battle on its head.
Leeds are the team to watch for the play-offs
After a dreadful start to the season, Leeds seem to be on the charge for the top six. They still sit just outside the top six, but they have the momentum behind them to potentially catch Hull FC and Castleford. Aidan Sezer returning has already improved their performances, and without Kruise Leeming they still looked good. Leeds have plenty of squad depth which will give them an advantage as the season draws on.
Huddersfield finally break into the top three
Huddersfield have been comfortably in the top half all year, but have been just behind St Helens, Wigan and Catalans. The results this weekend have seen Huddersfield overtake last year’s league leaders to find themselves in the top three, just one point behind Wigan. Although being third doesn’t make the biggest difference to the play-offs, it’s symbolic of how far Huddersfield have improved, and that they could go far into the play-offs when they start.
Hull derby one of the best in years
The weekend was finished off by arguably the best Hull derby since the magic weekend at the Etihad. Mikey Lewis produced one of the best magic weekend performances we’ve seen, scoring a hat-trick that kept his side in the fight. It was hard to tell which way the game would go until right at the end. Hull KR’s purple patch midway through the second half got them back into the game, but Hull FC responded with a try from Josh Simm. It wouldn’t be a Hull derby without some controversy, and it came as Elliot Minchella’s try was disallowed with a grey area around whether the ball was grounded, with many feeling it was.
Should the Magic Weekend stay at Newcastle?
This question is constantly being asked, and despite the fact that Newcastle is a great city that welcomes the event every year, there is an argument that it shouldn’t host a seventh magic weekend. The attendances have been good at Newcastle, but the stadium size means lots of empty seats. There is also potential for it to move around the country as a way of growing the sport. A fuller stadium and better atmosphere would do this if non-rugby league fans came to watch, and so it would be worth considering.