Salford Red Devils faced the Castleford Tigers at Headingley in a match between two sides looking to prove themselves after a very disjointed restart.
The Tigers looked to be starting the brighter, but an error on the halfway line meant that Kevin Brown could pick off a pass by George Griffin and race away under the posts to score.
Just a few minutes later, Brown turned provider as he switched the play from one side to the other and drop the ball to Niall Evalds who beat the tackle of Gareth O’Brien to score against the side he would be playing for in 2021.
Just after the tenth minute, Joey Lussick was the next to score for the Red Devils.
He spotted the gap as he picked the ball up from dummy-half and beat the soft tackle of Oliver Holmes to score.
Castleford finally hit back in the 17th minute as Danny Richardson ran out of options on the fourth tackle, so kicked the ball forward to chase himself and twist out of Evalds tackle to score.
He converted his own try to make it 18-6.
The 12-point gap was soon cut down further as Paul McShane ran across the defensive line, and threw a flat pass to Michael Shenton who broke through and raced nearer the posts to dot down.
In the very next set, the Tigers seemed to have pulled the third try back, as McShane used all his strength and power to get through the tackle of Tyrone McCarthy to ground the ball.
Richardson converted to level the scores with 12 minutes to go until half-time.
The game was completely turned on its head in the very next set as McShane released Gareth O’Brien straight down the middle of the park following an offload from Liam Watts.
O’Brien found Richardson, who was running out of room before passing back to McShane who slid under the posts to take the lead.
The entertaining first-half continued as the Red Devils levelled up just two minutes before the break.
Brown switched back inside once again, before giving the ball to Tui Lolohea, who put Luke Yates through a gap to power over and score.
Inu converted to make it 24-24 at half-time.
HALF-TIME: Salford Red Devils 24-24 Castleford Tigers
In the 45th minute, Liam Watts pulled off another spectacular offloaded to release Richardson into the backfield.
With Evalds the only man to beat, the half-back passed to Mike McMeeken who raced away to score.
Rhys Williams was the next to score as Salford hit back once again.
Brown and Evalds combined to release Williams down the left edge and the powerful winger palmed off the tackles of Foster, Richardson and O’Brien to score in the corner.
Inu converted from the touchline to make it 30-30 with 28 minutes to go.
With an hour gone, the game could go either way, as neither team was giving the other any time to breathe with the game being played at a rapid speed.
With 15 minutes to go, with the game in the balance, Danny Richardson struck a drop-goal just to edge the visitors in front.
In the final ten minutes, it looked as though Castleford had scored a vital try.
Richardson’s short kick was gathered by Grant Millington and the big prop-forward dived over the line.
Richardson then converted for a seven-point lead, meaning Salford had to score twice to win the game.
The Red Devils didn’t want to give up the fight though as they pushed for a way back into the contest.
A late error from Greg Burke all but gifted the game to the Tigers, after he offloaded the ball after being tackled.
FULL-TIME: Salford Red Devils 30-37 Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils
Evalds, Inu, Welham, Kear, Williams, Lolohea, Brown, Dudson, Lussick, Yates, Greenwood, McCarthy, Flanagan
Interchanges: Pauli, Ikahihifo, Burke, Ackers
Tries: Brown, Evalds, Lussick, Yates, Williams
Goals: Inu (5/5)
O’ Brien, Olpherts, Foster, Shenton, Eden, Richardson, Mata’utia, Watts, McShane, Griffin, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey
Interchanges: Millington, Milner, Moors, Turner
Tries: Richardson, Shenton, McShane (2), McMeeken, Millington
Goals: Richardson (6/6)
Referee: R. Hicks
Touch Judges: C. Worsley, M. Griffiths
Video Referee: B. Thaler
Image Source: @CTRLFC (twitter)