TONY Smith expects a terrific atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday and believes his players are keen to rise to the Magic Weekend occasion.
Warrington Wolves face St Helens in the weekend finale, where Smith will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s triumph against their near neighbours.
That made it two in two for Wolves at the Etihad after beating Widnes Vikings in 2012, and Smith says his side always look forward to the event.
“It’s another chance for players to play in big games, so they look forward it,” said Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby.
“It’s a great occasion, it’s one of those big stadiums and it’s unique. Everybody likes to play in those big crowds and big stadiums and big occasions.
“It’s one of those that everybody comes up for and the atmosphere has been terrific in the past years.”
Wolves suffered an opening day defeat to Saints at The Halliwell Jones Stadium and Smith expects Nathan Brown’s side to have renewed confidence after they nilled Bradford Bulls last Sunday.
“They hit the ground running,” he added. “They started the season really strongly. We weren’t far off it in terms of our performance in the first half.
“From memory the second half was a really poor performance or they just stepped it up and we didn’t go with them.
“We probably were underdone but we didn’t have that expectation upon ourselves until we got into that game.
“It was one of those days that you don’t expect to happen to you, that we have to learn from and cope with and rebound from.
“They were the form team at the start of the year. They hit a little bit of a rough patch but found some form again at the weekend with a win against Bradford, so they’ll have got some of their confidence back.”