Magic Weekend 2021: Sunday’s talking points and team news for Super League at St James’ Park | Rugby League News

George Williams facing his hometown club Wigan in the colours of Warrington is the pick of Sunday’s Magic Weekend storylines

We look at what is being said and team news ahead of the three matches on day two of this year’s Super League Magic Weekend at Newcastle’s St James’ Park, live on Sky Sports Arena on Sunday…

Huddersfield Giants vs Wakefield Trinity (Sky Sports Arena, kick off 1pm)

Wakefield-bound stand-off Lee Gaskell is set to make his first Huddersfield appearance since June, while full-back Ashton Golding is also back after sitting out the win over Hull KR. Luke Yates, who this week signed a new three-year contract, is ruled out with a pectoral tear.

Wakefield welcome back hooker Josh Wood after five months out with a torn hamstring while centre Reece Lyne and loose forward Joe Westerman are also back from injury.

Huddersfield Giants vs Wakefield Trinity

September 5, 2021, 12:55pm

Live on

Last season: Huddersfield 14-18 Wakefield; Wakefield 6-29 Huddersfield.

Last six league matches: Huddersfield WWLLLW; Wakefield LLWLWW.

Top try scorers: Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield) 11; Liam Kay (Wakefield) 6.

Top goal scorers: Aidan Sezer (Huddersfield) 23; Mason Lino (Wakefield) 62.

“It’s been a bit chaotic with the amount of injuries we’ve had and the Covid situation,” Huddersfield head coach Ian Watson said this week.

“It disrupted quite a lot of what we wanted to do in pre-season in terms of team stuff, and when it disrupted us again during the year we had to use games to help learn systems, and develop as we went on.

Huddersfield head coach Ian Watson has bemoaned his side's injuries and disruptions this season

Huddersfield head coach Ian Watson has bemoaned his side’s injuries and disruptions this season

“The only thing you want to stay consistent through all of that is your spine because they control the team and run it, but that’s the big area we’ve had no consistency at all. But there have still been plenty of positives.

“In the first year you go into a club you want to assess the situation and see why it’s not been successful, because like I said when I got here at the start, everything is in place at Huddersfield in terms of facilities and the youth system.

“We’ve identified what was wrong in the group and which are as we need to strengthen. And the biggest positive has been the amount of game time our younger players have got.”

Named Squads

Huddersfield Giants: Oliver Ashall-Bott, Jack Cogger, Leroy Cudjoe, Matthew English, Lee Gaskell, Ashton Golding, Joe Greenwood, Sam Hewitt, Josh Jones, Michael Lawrence, Ricky Leutele, Chris McQueen, Nathan Peats, Nathaniel Peteru, William Pryce, Oliver Russell, Louis Senior, Owen Trout, Jake Wardle, Oliver Wilson, Sam Wood.

Wakefield Trinity: Joe Arundel, Yusuf Aydin, James Batchelor, Eddie Battye, Jordan Crowther, David Fifita, Chris Green, Ryan Hampshire, Tom Johnstone, Liam Kay, Lee Kershaw, Mason Lino, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Jay Pitts, Innes Senior, Kelepi Tanginoa, Brad Walker, Joe Westerman, Josh Wood, Kyle Wood.

Super League returns to Newcastle this weekend. Take a look back to when Super League first came to the city for Magic Weekend back in 2015

Super League returns to Newcastle this weekend. Take a look back to when Super League first came to the city for Magic Weekend back in 2015

Super League returns to Newcastle this weekend. Take a look back to when Super League first came to the city for Magic Weekend back in 2015

Wigan Warriors vs Warrington Wolves (Sky Sports Arena, kick off 3.15pm)

Wigan are boosted by the return of hooker Sam Powell, who missed the last three matches due to concussion protocols. Utility back Jai Field again misses out after picking up a minor groin strain and Wilie Isa is still suspended.

Warrington are at virtually full strength with the return of prop Mike Cooper, stand-off Blake Austin and winger Josh Charnley. George Williams faces his old club Wigan for the first time but winger Tom Lineham starts a two-match ban.

Wigan Warriors vs Warrington Wolves

September 5, 2021, 3:15pm

Live on

Last season: Warrington 14-18 Wigan, Wigan 16-10 Warrington.

Last six league matches: Wigan WWLLLW; Warrington LWWLWL.

Top try scorers: Jake Bibby (Wigan) 12; Jake Mamo (Warrington) 14.

Top goal scorers: Harry Smith (Wigan) 30; Stefan Ratchford (Warrington) 63.

Warrington’s England half-back Williams is excited by a new challenge as he prepares to face his old club Wigan for the first time.

Williams turned down the Warriors when he returned to England as a free agent in mid-season following his release by Canberra Raiders and opted instead to join one of their arch rivals.

He was not ready to make his Wolves debut when they played Wigan at the end of July but will face a reunion at St James’ Park.

“It’s going to be pretty weird,” Williams said. “Obviously I’m Wigan born and bred and was a Wigan fan growing up.

“It’s definitely going to be a strange one, it’s something I’ve never done before, but I can’t get caught up in that.

Warrington's George Williams will play against Wigan for the first time in his career on Sunday

Warrington’s George Williams will play against Wigan for the first time in his career on Sunday

“It is my old team but I’ve played for Canberra too. I’m a Warrington Wolves player now and I’ve got to do my job for the team on Sunday.

“It was always going to be a tough decision but, speaking to Warrington, it was a new challenge and where the club is going really excites me. I’m pleased with my decision.”

Williams, who spent seven seasons with his hometown club, says the banter has already begun with his old team-mate Oliver Gildart.

“I was with him yesterday so the chat has started already,” he said. “I’ve known him since we were 11 but I only played against him once, at school.

“Joe Burgess was in the same team and they pumped us by 40. He reckons he’s going to skin me on the outside but it’s just normal chat, having a laugh.”

Williams spent seven years playing with hometown club Wigan

Williams spent seven years playing with hometown club Wigan

Williams has started the last four matches for his new club and is confident his partnership with his old England teammate Gareth Widdop is starting to flourish.

“I’m trying to find my feet in the team now,” he said. “We’ve not had too many games together but Gaz is a great player and he’s been really good this year.

“He’s probably Warrington’s go-to man so I’m just happy to be at the side of him and do the best for the team.

“Hopefully we can complement each other and showcase our partnership at the back end of the year.”

Williams will go up against England second rower John Bateman, a former Canberra teammate who also cut short his stay in the NRL and is currently struggling to recapture his old form for the Warriors.

“I’ve played with Batty for a long time and I know what he’s all about,” Williams said.

Former Wigan teammates Williams and John Bateman will face each another at St James' Park

Former Wigan teammates Williams and John Bateman will face each another at St James’ Park

“I’ve not seen too many of his games when I was in Australia and he’s been injured for a bit. But we all know how good John Bateman is so we’re not underestimating him at the weekend.”

Named Squads

Wigan Warriors: John Bateman, Jake Bibby, Joe Bullock, Liam Byrne, Mitch Clark, Liam Farrell, Oliver Gildart, Samuel Halsall, Umyla Hanley, Zak Hardaker, Jackson Hastings, Joseph Havard, Liam Marshall, Bradley O’Neill, Oliver Partington, Kai Pearce-Paul, Joseph Shorrocks, Brad Singleton, Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies.

Warrington Wolves: Sitaleki Akauola, Matty Ashton, Blake Austin, Jason Clark, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Matt Davis, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Toby King, Ellis Longstaff, Jake Mamo, Robbie Mulhern, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Josh Thewlis, Danny Walker, Gareth Widdop, George Williams.

Leigh Centurions vs Hull KR (Sky Sports Arena, kick off 5.30pm)

Leigh are set to welcome back threequarters Matty Russell and Iain Thornley as well as captain and hooker Liam Hood, prop Adam Sidlow and loose forward James Bell as they look for a first Magic Weekend triumph.

Hull KR coach Tony Smith brings in full-back Will Dagger, who has recovered from a quad injury, but is without loose forward George Lawler after he dislocated a thumb in the defeat at Huddersfield and he will assess the fitness of Brad Takairangi, Muizz Mustapha and Jimmy Keinhorst, who also sustained knocks in that game.

Leigh Centurions vs Hull K R

September 5, 2021, 5:30pm

Live on

Last six league matches: Leigh LLLWLL; Hull KR LWWLLL.

Top try scorers: Ryan Brierley (Leigh) 7; Ryan Hall (Hull KR) 14.

Top goal scorers: Ryan Brierley (Leigh) 23; Jordan Abdull (Hull KR) 36.

Named Squads

Leigh Centurions: Jack Ashworth, James Bell, Keanan Brand, Ryan Brierley, Robert Butler, Brendan Elliot, Matthew Foster, Alex Gerrard, Ben Hellewell, Liam Hood, Jack Logan, Nathan Mason, Joe Mellor, Craig Mullen, Matty Russell, Junior Sa’u, Adam Sidlow, Samuel Stone, Jordan Thompson, Iain Thornley.

Hull KR: Ben Crooks, Will Dagger, Ryan Hall, Luis Johnson, Jimmy Keinhorst, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Joe Keyes, George King, Mikey Lewis, Kane Linnett, Jez Litten, Will Maher, Rowan Milnes, Greg Minikin, Muizz Mustapha, Matt Parcell, Matthew Storton, Brad Takairangi, William Tate, Albert Vete.

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