Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Thunder out for a Magic Start as Fans Hit the Toon; Newcastle Set to Host York in Magic Weekend's Unofficial Opening Act

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Thunder out for a Magic Start as Fans Hit the Toon; Newcastle Set to Host York in Magic Weekend's Unofficial Opening Act

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith Twitter: @markismith50 www.facebook.com/chroniclerugby

NEWCASTLE Thunder boss Stanley Gene hopes his side can offer a winning start to the unofficial opening of rugby league's Magic Weekend this evening.

Tomorrow and Sunday sees six Super League games being played at St James' Park, but Thunder will provide the curtain-raiser when they host York City Knights in an 8.00 Kingston Park kickoff.

"This is going to be one of the biggest nights in Thunder's recent history," said Gene, the Papua New Guinean whose side sit fourth in the League One table following their takeover and groundshare with Newcastle Falcons rugby union club.

"Everyone at the club and at the Falcons has worked really hard behind the scenes to help get a crowd in and we are looking at somewhere around 2,000.

"That would be great and puts a positive kind of pressure on the team to go out and perform."

Hoping to gain a foot-up from Magic Weekend as the eyes of the rugby league community turn to Tyneside, Gene added: "If we can win this game and pull a big crowd in it will help turn some heads with so much attention on the city this week.

"Some of the people coming to watch us and going to Magic Weekend will have never seen a rugby league game before and it is down to us to bring in the crowds on a longer-term basis Fans of Super League clubs will also be in Newcastle for the weekend and hopefully coming over to Kingston Park tonight.

"It is fantastic for the city and offers a massive opportunity for Newcastle Thunder.

"Rugby league is the talk of the town for a little while and people should see a great game between ourselves and York."

In honour of the impending extravaganza at St James' Park Thunder will wear their black-and-white striped away kit against York, the names of Newcastle United greats emblazoned on the back of their shirts. …

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