Wigan Warriors’ Ian Lenagan calls to scrap Magic Weekend and predicts number of ‘Grade A’ clubs under IMG

WIGAN WARRIORS owner Ian Lenagan wants to see Magic Weekend scrapped and remains confident about Rugby League’s future with IMG at the helm.

Magic Weekend will be held again this year, at Newcastle’s St James’ Park, but doubt remains about its long-term future, especially as IMG have recommended that it should be scrapped.

Lenagan also believes the two-day festival of Super League is “a waste of time”.

“I think we’re on the cusp of success, and if IMG deliver, and hence RL Commercial deliver, we could be in a very, very strong place but there’s a few ifs in there,” Lenagan told League Express. 

“I feel confident because we’ve had some exposure to IMG recently and the way they’ve gone about the research, the grading issues, the whole aspect of how you produce the right plan going forward, of all the different facets has put us, I think, in a good place. 

“We’ll see the quality of what happens in the next six months. What are they going to come up with in terms of a new competition, because they don’t want to do Magic and I agree with them?

“I think Magic’s a waste of time and I have thought so for a long time. There are lots of things for them to do, but the way they’re going about it makes me feel good.”

IMG will present their new grading criteria to the clubs on March 9.

Lenagan says he would be surprised if there are as many as eight A-grade clubs in the first instance.

“I’d take six, maybe seven,” he said.

“Looking around, you’d say the two whole Hull clubs have a strong chance in there and the Wigan, Warrington, Leeds, St Helens axis is strong. 

“As for Catalans I’m not quite sure, I would have thought on facilities they’re in there. And then one or other of Hull FC or Hull KR, or maybe both.

“But I think the structure of grading that says it’s not just on the field where you play, you have to earn the right to be a grade B and hence be promoted, and if you’re top of that ranking then you come into Super League.”

Lenagan was impressed with the staging and hosting of last year’s World Cup.

“It was fabulous,” he said. 

“I thought there was a lot right with the World Cup. The only things wrong with it were that the prices were slightly too high and we had that awful England performance in the semi-final.

“Shaun (Wane), Kris (Radlinski), Matt Peet and I often talk about what went wrong that day, but we just didn’t play. Players who had performed superbly in the previous games just fell away in one match.

“Having said that, I want Shaun Wane to carry on because I can’t think who else you would appoint.”