Hull KR prop forward Sam Luckley insists fulfilling his “boyhood dream” of playing at St James’ Park will never get old as he prepares for his third Magic Weekend.
Super League’s showcase event returns to Newcastle with six fixtures taking place across Saturday and Sunday.
Luckley, who grew up in North Shields, has featured in two Magic Weekends previously for Salford and says playing at the home of his beloved Newcastle United is “mesmerising”.
“I’m absolutely buzzing,” the 27-year-old told PA news agency. “I’ve played here twice before and it’s just mesmerising.
“I love coming and playing at this stadium. It’s a big do for all my friends and family as well, it’s a big build-up. I just try not to think about it too much, but I can’t wait to get on the pitch.
“When you come out for warm-up and stuff, the sprinklers are on… it feels like I should be wearing the number nine shirt!
“It’s brilliant, you can’t put it into words. It’s a boyhood dream.”
Hull KR face Luckley’s former club Salford in the 1330 kick-off on Saturday in what looks set to be a tight contest, with both teams locked on 16 points in the table.
Last time he played at St James’ Park, Luckley scored a try in front of the Gallowgate End – celebrating with an Alan Shearer-style raised hand – and would love the chance to do so again.
He said: “I thought if I do score, I’ve got to do it, in front of the Gallowgate as well… I don’t really get many tries so I’ve got to take it when it comes along.
“I’ll 100 per cent be doing it again… If I get through, if I get the chance, I will!”
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) July 10, 2022
He insists, though, that he would value a victory over personal glory.
“I haven’t won here yet,” he said. “We lost against Castleford when I was playing for Salford and we lost again to Huddersfield when I scored my try, so I’ll trade all the tries in for a win. We’ll have a big push for that on Saturday.”
The future of Magic Weekend is up in the air, with global sports media company IMG having been commissioned to “reimagine” rugby league in its role as the sport’s long-term strategic partner, but Luckley feels it is a “great spectacle” and “can’t be anything but good”.
“It’s great for the sport,” he said. “Just look at the NRL, they’ve got a Magic Round as well and they’re loving it.
— Hull KR (@hullkrofficial) May 29, 2023
“It’s a great spectacle for our sport and getting people who don’t watch rugby into rugby league over a weekend like this in a big football stadium in a big city… It can’t be anything but good.
“It doesn’t just have to be Newcastle, it could be anywhere. I think, being a bit biased, St James’ Park is a great spot, the pubs are down the road, shops down the road…
“I’d be more than happy to go somewhere else to try it out but I think you’ve got to get the location right.”