I HAVE been looking forward to this weekend for a while ...
I am a fan of Magic, especially at Newcastle, and I think it’s something that has been good for our sport.
There’s a great atmosphere up there and it is a bit different to the normal week-in, week-out games we are playing, which is good to have midway through the season.
I have always said playing an extra league game is too much, but that doesn’t detract from what a great spectacle it is.
It is great for the fans and great for the players to play in such a venue such as St James’ Park with the facilities there and the history the place has.
It is an all-round great experience and it’ll be even better if we can get the two points.
We are definitely due a win over Cas in the league and Saturday would be the ideal time to put that right.
They had a tough game against Saints last Saturday and they’ve got a few injuries, just like we have, so I think both teams will be evenly matched.
It should make for a really good showpiece. They have come up with a lot of wins against us, but we are looking to go out and put a good performance in against them and then we’ll see what happens.
We can go up there with confidence after last week’s win at Widnes Vikings in the Challenge Cup.
It is great for the fans and great for the players to play in such a venue such as St James’ Park with the facilities there and the history the place has.Adam Cuthbertson
There was a bit of disappointment after the game about the way we played in the last 20 minutes, but the only thing that mattered last week was getting the W.
We did it the hard way, but I have played in some great teams while I’ve been at Leeds Rhinos and that’s the first time I’ve won at Widnes in my four years here. Apart from the one a few months ago, I’ve played in all the matches so to go there and get a win in a winner-takes-all game was a great effort.
We made hard work of it and I think that comes down to the way you have to play the game on that pitch.
We had control of the game for a good majority of it, but there was probably 20 minutes when the ball didn’t bounce our way and they are the little things that matter on the 3-G. The ball is never going to bounce the way you want it to on that surface and that’s where they got a lot of their points from.
The way we coped when we were down to 12 men was impressive, I thought. It is never easy when you are a player down, but we did a good job in that spell.
Before Ashton [Golding] got sin-binned he had some outstanding efforts and the back-three played really well; they saved us a few times from the long-distance breaks Widnes made.
We have taken a lot of positives out of it overall.
Whatever squad Widnes field at their home ground, they are a dangerous team because the pitch isn’t what we are used to and they know it like the back of their hand.
One thing we are getting used to is being in close games. I don’t know if we like that, but it is always good to do it because it builds character.
It is hard work as well, but the thing is, we are learning from it.
We are in transition once again, with the likes of Rob [Burrow] and Magsy [Danny McGuire] moving on and new halves and hookers, Richie Myler and Brad Dwyer, taking over.
We have handled it better than we did when Kev [Kevin Sinfield], JP [Jamie Peacock] and Kylie [Leuluai] left and it is all about keeping learning and improving.
We’ve had a couple of tight losses now and a couple of tight wins and that will put us in good stead come the back of the year because that’s what the matches are like at the business end.
You don’t get any easy ones come October so it will be good for us.
Finally, I’ve had a few people asking about my contract.
I am out at the end of this season, but by the time you read this I’ll have had some talks with Gary [Hetherington, the Leeds Rhinos chief exec’] and, hopefully, we’ll be a bit nearer to knowing what’s going to happen.