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17th April 2018, 21:47 | steve_mascord

WE GOT ISSUES: It's Magic You Know

WE GOT ISSUES: It's Magic You Know

IN LIFE, it’s always a good idea not to become your reflection.

Don’t let compliments go to your head or criticism go to your heart. Keep your self-image and the way people respond to you well apart.

You decide who you are, what you like, what your strengths and weakness are – not the people who comment under your Facebook post.

Having said all that, Magic Weekend must have something going for it given it has now been adopted by France and Australia.

This weekend at the wonderful State Albert Domec in the shadows of the old city in Carcassonne, an entire round of Elite One rugby league will be played on Saturday and Sunday, borrowing shamelessly from what British rugby league started in 2007 in Cardiff.

Palau v Toulouse Olympique, St Gaudens v Aquitaine Leopards, Limoux v Lezignan Corbieres are all on Saturday. Then on Sunday, you can catch Albi against Carcassonne and St Esteve v Catalans.

The Aussies are going all out at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium in May, 2019, with four days of NRL action. The NRL almost never stages games at the same time anyway, so on TV the whole thing will look pretty much the same as usual.

But after awarding the grand final to Sydney until 2042, the NRL had to throw the Queenslanders something. 

So surely, leaving aside the fact that we should make our own decisions and all that, Magic Weekend is objectively a good idea. Calls to scrap it should be fading a little.There remain some interesting ideas about how to change it, however.

Toronto Wolfpack coach Paul Rowley says it should be made up entirely of Challenge Cup matches, eliminating a weekend from the busy schedule of clubs without losing much.

Of course, the tourism people would argue that inserts a bit of uncertainty into whether your team will actually be in Newcastle – although presumably there’s plenty of warning from the previous round of Cup ties – and that might discourage people from committing.

Another idea is to replace it with a Nines tournament. I’ve got a problem with that.

The NRL found they had to place minimum standards on the number of each club’s 10 highest-paid players in each squad because clubs were resting stars for the Auckland Nines.

And that was before the season started with no-one injured! Imagine the sides that could be trotted out in May. I don’t think you can pause 13-a-side and switch to Nines before switching back and expect people to take your seriously.

Nines belongs at the start or the end of the season, not in the middle. With no competition points up for grabs, would you go? I can’t see it working. 

One thing that should catch on in Carcassonne and Brisbane, that is being done in Newcastle this year is the game between Toronto and Toulouse.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an expansion element to every Magic Weekend – perhaps an Italian club against a Spanish team in France and the new Fiji NSW Cup franchise against PNG Hunters in Brisbane?

Toronto v Toulouse has its opponents, just like Magic Weekend itself. Once someone nicks the idea, we’ll all feel a lot more comfortable with it.