Tigers rally to beat Bulls
Kirk Dixon passed the 1000-point mark for Castleford as the Tigers came from behind to open their Super League campaign with a 36-18 victory over Bradford at Odsal.
Cash-strapped and points-deduction threatened Bradford led three times and held the advantage until 25 minutes from the end but their turbulent week ultimately ended in defeat.
The visitors finished the stronger to run in six tries in all, with Dixon adding six goals from seven attempts.
The Bulls gave debuts to winter acquisitions Lee Gaskell, Adam Henry and midweek loan signing Danny Bridge, while Castleford handed debuts to no fewer than six close-season signings.
Helped on by an early penalty, Bradford struck first with fewer than four minutes on the clock when Luke Gale and Lee Gaskell put Danny Addy through for a try which Jamie Foster converted.
The Bulls could have increased their lead shortly afterwards but did not have the composure to finish off a rousing 50-metre break after Adrian Purtell had intercepted a Liam Finn pass.
Elliot Kear stopped rampaging Tigers hooker Daryl Clark with a superb last-gasp tackle and the hosts managed to weather a couple of successive sets deep in their own territory before Weller Hauraki strolled through to score. Dixon's conversion made it 6-6 at half-time.
After a tight first half the floodgates opened with three tries in seven minutes after the interval, Bradford grabbing the first as Gale stabbed a grubber kick into the corner which stood up nicely for Foster to grab before reaching out to score.
But Castleford immediately regained possession just after the restart and capitalised to score when Dixon crossed in the corner then converted his own score from the touchline to square things up once more.
Shortly afterwards the Bulls were ahead again when Purtell rose to catch and ground a perfectly weighted Gale cross-kick at the other end and Foster added his third goal.
The Tigers did not trail for long as Finn picked up a Dixon kick following a move on the right and then sent Clark racing over for a try. Dixon again converted to bring up the winger's 1000th point since joining the Tigers in 2007.
With the scores tied, Dixon then amazingly missed a straightforward penalty for interference almost in front of the posts just after the hour mark.
Bradford's let-off was short-lived, however, as Justin Carney claimed a high kick from Finn and needed only to fall across the line to score and put the away side in front for the first time just three minutes later.
Kear gave the Bulls one late glimmer of hope when racing the length of the field to touch down, only to be called back by referee Robert Hicks for a forward pass.
Luke Dorn then crossed to effectively seal the win seven minutes from time, while Grant Millington added another try on the final play and Dixon finishing with six goals to take his match tally to 16 points.