16th May 2018, 14:59 | league_1

Thunder excited for Magic Friday clash with 'massive' Bradford

Thunder excited for Magic Friday clash with 'massive' Bradford

By Dan Fowler

Newcastle Thunder are preparing for another Magic Friday fixture, this time against League 1 powerhouses Bradford Bulls.

With Magic Weekend returning to Tyneside for a fourth-consecutive year, Thunder have a great chance to show their progression once again as they kick-start the Rugby League bonanza.

Bradford are known for their big following and Newcastle vice-captain Rhys Clarke is looking forward to seeing Kingston Park packed to the rafters.

"It's always an event we look forward to," he said.

"We have been lucky enough to have the Magic Weekend come up for the past four years now and every year it's getting better and better.

"We played York last year in the Friday night game and (with it being) Bradford this time, it's going to be even bigger as they bring a lot of fans with them.

"It's probably going to beat the attendances we have had at Kingston Park for the previous three Magic Friday matches. We are really looking forward to it.

"It (Magic Weekend) is a great event as a whole and it's good that we can tag on the back of that and try to grab some new fans who have never been up to watch Thunder before."

But Clarke is hoping it's not just the influx of Bulls fans that will help the attendance figure.

The forward mentioned how Magic Weekend is a perfect opportunity for Thunder to attract more locals to a match, especially against a well-known name such as Bradford.

"Magic Weekend is all about trying to engage new fans and what you will find is a lot of my friends, who are football fans, cricket fans, hear about this Magic Weekend and start talking about it," he added.

"They go along to watch, find out that we are playing on a Friday night and come and watch us.

"It's a real chance to grasp these new fans to turn them into long-term fans, who then start to buy season tickets and shirts and that will strengthen the position the club is in."

Going into the contest, Thunder sit eighth in the table but are just two points shy of fifth-placed Keighley.

Bradford lead the way at the top but despite the gap between the teams, Clarke is looking forward to the challenge.

"We have had an up and down season so far," Clarke commented.

"We need to start backing up on our wins.

"To knock a team off like Bradford would be amazing.

"We know what they are going to be like, they are going to be a good side with some good pros.

"It's great to test yourself against these teams.

"You don’t get much bigger in League 1 than Bradford Bulls.

"We are really looking forward to it.

"We know it's going to be a fight but we are going to go out there, raring to go, and give it a good dig."

Newcastle have great potential within their ranks and Friday's fixture will be a great watch for all as Rugby League's big weekend gets underway.