Rugby League will return to Anfield Stadium for the second time in six months next May when the Dacia Magic Weekend hits Merseyside and Salford Red Devils will clash with Hull Kingston Rovers.
Liverpool FC’s iconic stadium provided the perfect setting for England’s memorable Second Test win against New Zealand last week, and now all 12 Betfred Super League clubs can relish the prospect of playing in front of The Kop after today’s meeting of the Super League board ratified the move.
Super League broke new ground in 2007 when the Magic Weekend was established, with a regular round of fixtures taken to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Since then it has also been staged at Murrayfield, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, and for the last four years St James’s Park in Newcastle – and the concept has now been adopted in the Southern Hemisphere by the National Rugby League, who will stage a full round of matches at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium next May.
The 2018 Dacia Magic Weekend attracted an aggregate attendance of more than 64,000, and as ever the players relished the top of the ground conditions with a feast of tries, and an average of more than 50 points scored in each of the six games.
The fixtures at the 2019 Dacia Magic Weekend will include a repeat of the 2018 Betfred Super League Grand Final, with champions Wigan Warriors facing Warrington Wolves in the last of the three games on Saturday May 25 (1900 kick-off) – giving the Wolves the opportunity to take revenge not only for their defeat at Old Trafford last month, but also for the 38-10 drubbing inflicted by Wigan in Newcastle last May.
The Anfield programme has been determined by ranking position from the 2018 season, meaning that the other two teams who earned places in the top four – St Helens and Castleford Tigers – will clash in another mouth-watering fixture to round off the weekend on Sunday May 26 (1800).
Wakefield Trinity and Catalans Dragons will share the honour of playing the first Dacia Magic Weekend fixture at Anfield Stadium at 1400 on the Saturday, and their match will be followed by Hull FC versus Huddersfield Giants at 1630 – before Wigan and Warrington take centre stage.
The Sunday programme begins with Salford Red Devils facing Hull Kingston Rovers (1300), while newly-promoted London Broncos have been handed a tough match against Leeds Rhinos (1530) in their first Magic Weekend appearance since 2014.
All six matches will be shown live on Sky Sports, as part of their extensive, exclusive live coverage of the Betfred Super League.
Robert Elstone, the Super League chief executive, said: “On behalf of the Super League clubs, we’re delighted to be taking the Dacia Magic Weekend to one of the most famous stadiums in the world.
“Anfield and Liverpool Football Club have embraced our sport – throughout all our discussions on the Magic Weekend, they made it very clear to us that they wanted that relationship to continue. The game should be proud that Anfield has become a rugby league venue.
“I would also like to thank Mayor Joe Anderson for his support for what will be a great weekend for Super League and the City of Liverpool. I had the privilege of working in the city for more than a decade and I know Super League fans will have a great time not only at Anfield but in one of our country’s most vibrant and exciting cities. The place is special – it’s a perfect fit for the celebratory atmosphere of Magic.
“I’d also like to thank the City of Newcastle and Newcastle United for hosting the Magic Weekend so well over the past four seasons. They’ve created so many great memories for Super League and our fans, and have set the bar very high for Liverpool. Newcastle has inked its place into Super League history.”
Tickets for the 2019 Dacia Magic Weekend will go on sale on Monday 19 November 2018 via rugby-league.com and the Super League clubs.
2019 Dacia Magic Weekend fixtures in full
Saturday May 25
1400 – Wakefield Trinity v Catalans Dragons
1630 – Hull FC v Huddersfield Giants
1900 – Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves
Sunday May 26
1300 – Salford Red Devils v Hull Kingston Rovers
1530 – Leeds Rhinos v London Broncos
1800 – St Helens v Castleford Tigers