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This weekend in Newcastle saw what was, potentially, the last Magic Weekend, should the IMG proposals be implemented in full.

IMG would like to replace the weekend with ‘something else’ as yet unspecified, and it appears that the British rugby league public voted with their feet as they supported the event and by all accounts had a fabulous weekend.

There was a combined attendance of 36,943 on the Saturday and 26,426 on the Sunday for a total of 63,369 for the event as a whole, bolstering the local economy as they basked in decent weather and enjoyed more than the odd shock result.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Mon 5th Jun 2023 2:45 PM
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A one place improvement as possible for either side in the final game of the Magic Weekend as a Warrington Wolves side who were looking for a return to the top of the table took on a Hull FC side who had an eye on going ahead of Huddersfield Giants and into ninth place in the table.

The bookies favoured a Warrington win, handicapping them by eight points on the coupon, but Daryl Powell’s side came into the game with more than a little concern about the resurgence in form from the Airlie Birds after a poor fist half of the season.

After yesterday’s day of the underdog, today was the day of the favourite, and most thought that Warrington would continue the trend.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 4th Jun 2023 6:37 PM
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Day two, game two of Magic Weekend in Newcastle: St Helens versus Huddersfield with the Saints hoping for a victory to get the second half of a stuttering season on track.

Huddersfield Giants had an even worse record from the last six rounds: just two wins, against Castleford and Catalans.

Saints kicked off in their 1890s retro kit of chocolate and blue, keeping the Giants within their own half and and forcing them to kick from half-way, allowing St Helens to start their first attacking kick from 20m out.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 4th Jun 2023 4:33 PM
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After the closest of finishes to the Saturday of Magic Weekend, Sunday began with a fixture which promised to be more one sides as a Leigh Leopards side on fine form, and having beaten the league leaders last time out, took on the bottom side in Super League, the winless Wakefield Trinity.

Wakefield had been given an eighteen-point start on the handicap coupon and only the most one-eyed of Wakefield supporters would suggest any other outcome than a big Leopards win which would see Leigh up to fourth place in the table, and if the win was by more than twenty-nine points then they would be into third, above near neighbours Wigan.

The expectation was of one-way traffic, Wakefield needed a miracle.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 4th Jun 2023 2:02 PM
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It was anyone’s guess what would happen in the final game of Magic Weekend’s Saturday as two unpredictable sides took to the field with eighth placed Leeds Rhinos taking on a Castleford Tigers in eleventh place with only two wins so far this season, one against the Rhinos back in round five.

The Rhinos needed a massive win to lift them above St Helens into seventh on points difference, Castleford are three wins away from improving their league position, but the two points would give them some extra breathing space above the drop zone and Wakefield Trinity.

The Tigers were given an eight-point start on the coupon but anyone thinking of placing a bet was simply rolling the dice on the most unpredictable of fixtures, but with low expectations there was the chance that the game would serve up a classic.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 3rd Jun 2023 7:53 PM
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Game two of Saturday at the Magic Weekend started with high expectations of a classic in the Newcastle sun as second placed Wigan Warriors faced a Catalans Dragons in third spot with both sides looking for the win to go to the top of the table, providing it was by enough points.

Wigan needed to win by more than eight points, while the Dragons needed a winning margin of more than fourteen, whoever won would then hope that Hull FC could do them a favour and record a second consecutive loss for the league leaders, the Warrington Wolves.

The Warriors were favourites for the win, the Dragons given a six-point start on the coupon, and those backing the Warriors would have been delighted to see the return of Jai Field to their ranks, but the Dragons had players returning too, including former Warriors favourite Sam Tomkins.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 3rd Jun 2023 5:47 PM
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One of the games of the weekend was first up on the Saturday of Newcastle Magic Weekends as sixth placed Salford Red Devils faced a Hull KR side confounding the critics and residing in fourth spot with no indication that they intend to give up on a play-off place or even chasing the title.

The sides went into the game on level league points, KR with a far superior points difference but while a win by more than sixteen points would lift the Robins up into second place, at least temporarily, a victory for the Red Devils would see them go above their opponents and into fourth spot in the table.

The bookies were struggling to pick a favourite, giving Salford a small start on the coupon.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 3rd Jun 2023 3:31 PM
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The RFL Board have approved a number of changes to the Salary Cap Regulations for 2024.

The changes were agreed after consultation with the RL Commercial Board in Newcastle on Friday, and while the regulations cover Betfred Super League, Championship and League One, the changes mostly affect the Super League clubs.

The finite cap for the Betfred Super League will stay at two point one million pounds for a fifth consecutive season, reflecting a recognition from the Boards and the clubs of the importance of financial sustainability, especially given the additional consideration of repaying the Sport Survival Fund loans.

However, the Board have listened to stakeholders including the RL Commercial Board and supported IMG, the sport’s long-term strategic partner, in their view that clubs should be permitted to invest when affordable.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 3rd Jun 2023 2:45 PM
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The long awaited and eagerly anticipated event had finally arrived, and a nation could barely contain its excitement as the State of Origin series for 2023 got underway with the first game between the Blues of New South Wales and Queensland’s Maroons in Adelaide, at the Adelaide Oval.

Billy Slater´s Queensland won the series last year by 2-1 after losing in 2021 to Brad Fittler’s Blues, and no side has retained the trophy since New South Wales in 2019.

The bookies had the Blues as slight favourites to take the opening win on neutral territory but close to their own soil, but with a handicap of just two they thought that it would be a close-run thing between two side, evenly matched on paper.

As kick-off approached, the excitement was palpable.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 31st May 2023 1:06 PM
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“Howay, man!” we’re all off to Newcastle for the Magic Weekend, a jamboree of Super League rugby league to celebrate the mid-point of the season as we head into the all-important jostling for the play-off positions stage of 2023.

There are six games over two days at the weekend and while some people will just come to see their side and spend the rest of the time in the bar, many will take in all three fixtures on a particular day, or for the real marathon runners amongst us, sit through all six games.

It should be a fabulous occasion and we just can’t wait, so here we will take a look at the ties on offer and give some thoughts on likely outcomes.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Tue 30th May 2023 3:39 PM
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The final game of the opening day of the Summer Bash saw the runaway league leaders Featherstone Rovers take on the ‘home’ side, the York RLFC Knights with the rest of the competition hoping that the Knights could spring a surprise and record the flat cappers first league defeat of the season.

The bookies given Gavin Henderson’s battle weary side a twenty-four-point start on the coupon and predicted a massacre, but Sean Long knew that their challenge was not to be taken lightly and that anything but a top-drawer game from the top side in the competition could lead to a slip up, and an end to their eleven-game unbeaten league run.

It was potentially a great game to bring down the curtain on a fantastic first day.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 27th May 2023 9:13 PM
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The team with the second best attack, and the second best defence, Toulouse Olympique XIII came into the Summer Bash in York looking for the win which would take them back above the Sheffield Eagles and into second place in the table as they took on a London Broncos who have disappointed so far this season and are currently sat in tenth position in the table and themselves needing a big points win to move up to eighth.

The bookies and pundits couldn´t see past a Toulouse victory as they looked to get back to winning ways after losing the Batley Bulldogs and Swinton Lions in their last two games, putting a serious dent into their title and promotion aspirations.

London would need to dig deep to get anything out of the game.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 27th May 2023 6:57 PM
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The Betfred Championship moves, en masse, to York for this weekend´s summer bash and with two days of sunshine and no prospect of rain it looks like being an excellent weekend for those who enjoy a bit of culture, and cuisine with their rugby league.

There are seven fixtures over two days kicking off at 12:45 today with the first encounter between the Widnes Vikings and the Swinton Lions and ending tomorrow evening when the Bradford Bulls and Keighley Cougars bring down the curtain on proceedings.

We take a look ahead to the matches and likely outcomes.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 27th May 2023 9:42 AM
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The only thing separating the Leeds Rhinos and St Helens on the league table was points difference, the Saints having performed much better in defence over their opening twelve games than the Rhinos, who had themselves scored more points.

Leeds won the round three fixture at the Totally Wicked Stadium, the first loss for Saints after they become World Champions, but after exiting the cup last weekend at the hands of the Wigan Warriors, that seems like a long distant memory for Rhinos fans.

The Saints were favoured by the bookies going into the game with the Rhinos given a six point start on the handicap coupon, but it would all depend on which Rhinos side, Jekyll or Hyde, showed up for the game.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 26th May 2023 10:11 PM
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The tie of the round saw two sides with terrific Challenge Cup wins last weekend opened round thirteen of Super League with a Thursday evening clash as third placed Hull Kingston Rovers welcomed second place Wigan Warriors to Craven Park for a top of the table clash with second place up for grabs for the winners.

All that separated the two sides is a difference of eight points in the points difference column with KR having scored three points more than Wigan while they had conceded eleven more.

It was almost impossible to make a call between the two sides and the bookies had made KR slight favourites with their home advantage.

The two sides met om the opening weekend of the season when KR set out their stall for the season with a 27-18 win.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 25th May 2023 10:06 PM
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The draw for the quarter finals of the 2023 Betfred Challenge Cup took place at Wheldon Road after today’s clash between the Castleford Tigers and Hull FC, where the winners Hull FC were into the hat alongside the holders Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Leigh Leopards, Hull KR, Warrington Wolves, Salford Red Devils and York RLFC Knights.

Interestingly there is not a single West Yorkshire side left in the competition.

The draw was made by John Kear (away) and Brian Noble (home) and was broadcast live on the BBC at the conclusion of the sixth round game.

All the Super League sides were hoping to draw the remaining Championship side, the neutrals were looking forward to some of the big teams being thrown together.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 21st May 2023 4:49 PM
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Two sides from the lower half of the Super League table had the chance of a confidence boosting Challenge Cup win and a place in the quarter finals which were now devoid of the likes of the Leeds Rhinos and the Catalans Dragons as Hull FC mad the trip down the M62 to visit Wheldon Road for a game against the Castleford Tigers.

After three of recent wins the Airlie Birds are sat in ninth place in the table and are six points clear of the Tigers, who themselves have only managed two wins out of the twelve games that they have played so far this season.

The visitors were the favourites with the bookies, but there wasn´t much between the two sides, it looked like it could be a cup classic.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 21st May 2023 4:45 PM
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Ian Watson brought his Huddersfield to Salford in the last of Saturday's Betfred Challenge Cup games, but would his team get a vital win against the club he was last managing – and had taken to the final – before moving to West Yorkshire? Whoever won, the win would take them into the quarter-finals of the sport's most famous - and oldest – knock-out competition.

Famously, league form counts for nothing when it comes to the Cup, but both teams' fans were feeling confident about this tie, even if Huddersfield were still looking to get their stuttering season properly under way.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 20th May 2023 10:02 PM
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Both sets of supporters came into todays Challenge Cup sixth round encounter between the Leeds Rhinos and the Wigan Warriors with a hope that their side would win, and an expectation that they would lose, and the bookies had a similar dilemma as they struggled to pick a favourite to progress.

While Wigan are challenging for top spot in the table, and Leeds struggling to find any consistency in the bottom half, the Rhinos fought back from 14-0 down and played the second forty with twelve men but came back to record an incredible 40-18 victory at the DW Stadium.

The Rhinos made several changes with Ash Handley and Blake Austin both unfit and Zane Tetevano suspended after last week´s sending off.

Wigan had Liam Marshall and Ryan Hampshire back in their starting thirteen, but there was no place for Cade Cust.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 20th May 2023 4:16 PM
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Super League´s involvement in the 2023 Challenge Cup kicked off with the potential for a giant killing in Halifax as the Panthers took on the World Champions St Helens in a round six game at The Shay in front of the cameras from ViaPlay Sport.

The bookies had gone all in for a Saints win, banishing all thoughts of an upset, and with Saints having won the last fifteen consecutive encounters with the side from Halifax.

You must look back twenty-five years for the last Halifax victory over the Saints, and to 1987 for the last time that Halifax beat them in the cup, on that occasion in the final at Wembley.

Anything but a large Saints win was unthinkable.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 19th May 2023 9:36 PM
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