Matty Johns’ ultimate Magic Round preview: On the field and behind the scenes

Magic Round has been one of the NRL’s best new concepts and if you’ve never experienced it, MATTY JOHNS reveals what you’ve been missing out on.
I’ve been waiting for this since the draw was released, Magic Round is one of the best concepts brought into the game during the NRL era.
Here are the top things I’m most looking forward to this weekend.
Brisbane do it better than Sydne, Sure, Sydney is far more spread, but the week leading into the grand final, as far as promoting the game, is rather underwhelming.
The moment you step off the plane in Brisbane it’s all about Magic Round and rugby league.
Throughout the city everybody is wearing their team’s colours, the pubs are packed, and you are immersed in rugby league’s version of Disneyland.
It’s not too dissimilar to travelling to the USA for Super Bowl. The moment you arrive in the host city, it’s all about the game.
Every bar, every party, every promotion, every event is all about Super Bowl.
The city of Brisbane is making Magic Round bigger every year, it’s a concept which must continue.
It gives the game a triple crown event, spread throughout the season, State of Origin, the grand final and Magic Round.
We are a tribal mob, we rugby league folk. Whereas the AFL happily row in the same direction for the good of the game, we’ll do anything to get one over our rivals.
We are 16 warring tribes.
We support the idea that rules are meant to be broken, from the boardroom to the playing field.
Yet for this weekend, that ruthlessness tends to take a few days off. In the hotel foyers where various teams are staying together, you see players mixing, enjoying each other’s company, coaches having a casual chat and, most importantly, fans being able to get up close and socialise with the stars of the sport.
It’s beautiful to see … but then of course Monday comes and we all go back to our respective corners and start plotting again.
It’s good to be king, and wonderful to be able to move around the town in his presence.
Myself and my dear friend Gorden Tallis once enjoyed a very long and enjoyable lunch at one of the Raging Bull’s many waterholes.
At the conclusion of the lunch I pulled out my wallet pretending I was about to offer to fix the bill. Gorden smirked, “Put your wallet away. The only thing I pay for in this town is fuel and nappies.”
Given the price of fuel at the moment, I’ll be starting a GoFundMe page for my beer-loving buddy.

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