Warrington 41 St Helens 24: Wolves provide the magic as Wellens rages at Saints

Warrington coach Tony Smith hailed a ‘pretty successful’ event for his team and for rugby league

Warrington were the stars of the second day of the Magic Weekend, beating St Helens 41-24 to prevent them going top of Super League.

The Sunday programme did not always match the glories of the previous day for drama, quality of play or numbers watching, but that did not worry the Wolves as they produced their best performance of the season.

“I think it’s been pretty successful,” the victorious coach, Tony Smith, said of the weekend. “It certainly was for us.” Saints captain Paul Wellens described his team’s performance as “embarrassing.”

Warrington made a magical start, both their wingers, Gene Ormsby and Rhys Evans, scoring early on. Saints were still in disarray when Chris Hill grabbed a third from Ben Westwood’s killer pass, followed by Evans’ second.

There was a hint of a changing of the tide when Ormsby was sin-binned and Alex Walmsley got one back, but Saints were soon slapped down again by Ryan Atkins.

Joel Monaghan and Matty Russell added further indignity before some face-saving from Jordan Turner and Lance Hohaia, which almost amounted to one of St Helens’ famous fightbacks.

 When Matty Dawson dived in, a huge turnaround was suddenly possible, but Stefan Ratchford’s drop-goal put paid to that before Monaghan strode away for his second.

In the first game of the day, Castleford, the surprise packet of the season so far, were far too good for their neighbours, Wakefield. The Tigers won 50-12, Justin Carney, Daryl Clark and Marc Sneyd each scoring two tries.

Struggling Bradford gave a better account of themselves in the first half against Huddersfield. They led by early tries from Danny Addy and Jamie Foster, only fell behind after 25 minutes but eventually lost 54-16, with Danny Brough accumulating 22 points.

The four Saturday games, watched by a record first-day crowd of 36,339, out of a total of almost 65,000, were a wonderful illustration of the range the code can offer. Warrington coach Tony Smith hailed a ‘pretty successful’ event for his team and for rugby league Warrington coach Tony Smith hailed a ‘pretty successful’ event for his team and for rugby league

London Broncos were unlucky not to get their first points – or at least point – of the season against Catalan Dragons. There was some marvellously enterprising rugby from Kevin Brown and Rangi Chase as Widnes edged out Salford.

The Hull derby was all you would expect, holding the attention despite the city’s involvement in the FA Cup final. Best of all, a supposedly weakened Wigan and the Super League leaders, Leeds, played with even more intensity and aggression than they usually reserve for each other, with three men sin-binned before the Warriors won out.

It was the best day’s rugby the Magic Weekend has staged in its short history. All four results were in doubt going into the last five minutes and the games were played in a carnival atmosphere. Yesterday could not quite equal it, but there was already more than enough evidence of the worth of the event.

The remarkable thing for the uninitiated is that the supporters of 14 teams, with all their assorted grudges against each other, can sit together, drink together, wait for the video referee together, wind each other up and still remain on good terms. It is something of which rugby league is rightly proud and it is nowhere better illustrated than over the Magic Weekend. The crowd was noisier and more colourful than in any previous year. There was even a “first” when the Hull and Hull KR fans united in acclamation of City’s two-goal lead at Wembley.

For the third year running the sun shone on the Magic Weekend, which made all the difference to the rugby league theme park that surrounded the Etihad Stadium and to the calibre of the rugby inside.

That abundant space for fun and games is another reason why Manchester City are the ideal hosts for this annual feel-good festival, although the continuity could be threatened next year by ground improvements.

Then there is the reorganisation of Super League and the divisions below it. An extra game on neutral territory might not always have the same appeal to already overworked players.

In an era when sport is increasingly about set-piece events, the Magic Weekend, be it in Cardiff, Edinburgh or Manchester, has established itself as one to savour.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Fraud contributes 11p to a £2.00 box of half a dozen eggs
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the Jurassic World trailer
film

Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early

Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital