This week sees the inaugural Magic Round take place in the NRL competition and it’s fair to say it has divided opinion down under.
The event will be hosted by Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane with all 8 games played in their usual time slots between Thursday and Sunday as opposed to the Magic Weekend here in the UK.
Newcastle Knights travel north on Friday for their game against Canterbury Bulldogs on Saturday with a coach who is a big fan of the concept after his experiences in the northern hemisphere.
“I like it. I think it’s great. I had six years in England so I had six ‘Magic Weekends’ over there, in some different counties, and it’s great for fans,” Nathan Brown told NRL.com on Tuesday.
“If you’re a rugby league fan and you like watching teams other than your own and to be there for a bit of a carnival – the social side is very good as well – it’s a concept I hope the crowds will buy into and, I hope, can keep happening.”
The Knights have improved after a slow start to the campaign and will head into this weekend off the back of an impressive win over New Zealand Warriors.
“For us it’s two competition points up for grabs, and all the other teams going up there for the weekend will be going with the same feeling,” he said.
“I’m sure there will be a bit of a carnival atmosphere for the fans but from a player’s point of view, you’ve got a job to do, and you’re not doing much different from any other week. There are some games before or after you, that’s all.
“As far as our lead-up to the game and our preparation on game day, everything will be the same, so there’s no excuse for us not to go there and improve on what we did the other day.”