Dixon 'the ultimate pro'
Head coach Daryl Powell paid tribute to Kirk Dixon after the goal-kicking winger passed the 1,000-point mark to help Castleford Tigers come from behind and begin their Super League campaign with a 36-18 victory over crisis-club Bradford Bulls.
Dixon scored a try and landed six goals in a game which saw the beleaguered Bulls lead three times before they finally succumbed to four Tigers tries in the closing 25 minutes.
The cash-strapped Bulls are facing a points deduction later this week after recently dipping into administration for the second time, and lost two key players - Jarrod Sammut and Garreth Carvell - ahead of the game.
Powell admitted his side might have fallen into temporary complacency following their 66-10 destruction of the Bulls in a pre-season friendly on the same ground two weeks ago, and paid tribute to Bradford's efforts.
"Obviously everybody expected us to win, and perhaps we did ourselves at the start," he said.
"They came at us really committed and I don't think we handled that too well.
"I think it took us 20 minutes to really put our foot on the ball, and as a result of that we just couldn't seem to get into the game.
"It was a disappointing start, but we gradually fought our way back into it.
"I thought all our big men did well and gave us some direction."
Powell stressed what Dixon had brought to Castleford since joining the club in 2007
"Kirk's the ultimate professional and works harder than anyone - he's last out and he'll even come in on his days off and kick goals," he said.
"When you have someone who does that, they are great standard-bearers for the kind of culture we are trying to develop.
"He's not the quickest or the strongest, but he's unbelievably consistent and he's very good at a lot of things - the way he goes about his business is very professional."
Opposing coach Francis Cummins acknowledged that the Bulls eventually ran out of steam after a gutsy opening hour.
"We gave a few yardage errors," he said. "I thought there was a time when we were ready to go, but came up with those errors and they scored and that knocked us down a bit.
"We got fatigued because we gave the ball over too often on the first and second plays.
"But I'm proud because I felt that we were fully committed - you can't fault the effort and that's what you want.
"Cas can play good football, but we have to keep our concentration more. We gave it back to them too cheaply in the second half."