Castleford Tigers lost their 100 per cent pre-season record when their young side went down 26-8 defeat to Bradford Bulls at the Provident Stadium.
A team with a handful of first team players and under 19s were in the contest at half-time when only 10-4 down before the more experienced Bulls took command after the break.
Bradford were soon ahead after Ryan Hampshire’s kick-off went out on the full and the hosts were given good field position that led to the opening try.
Former Cas winger James Clare scored it when he chased Adam O’Brien’s kick as it was not dealt with by Dec Sheehan. The conversion by Danny Addy gave the Bulls the perfect start after just two minutes.
A second try soon followed as Addy made a break and O’Brien and Tom Olbison carried the move on before Omari Caro raced over.
Cas got themselves into the contest with a couple of Tom Holmes kicks needing some good defending from the hosts.
They scored just before the break when Hampshire’s offload sent Greg Minikin charging over for a try that went unconverted.
Bradford exerted some pressure early in the second half and after Joe Lumb went close they stretched their lead again, Addy slipping the ball out to Alex Mellor who charging through to score under the posts.
More pressure brought a further score after Ben Kavanagh made a break down the middle. Cas got back to defend, but could not stop the hosts as they moved the ball wide for Luke Hooley to go over.
To their credit, the young Tigers kept going and were rewarded midway through the second half when speedy youngster Sheehan raced over in the corner after Minikin had charged 80 metres downfield following an interception.
But any hopes of a comeback were ended as Liam Kirk powered over and Addy kicked his third goal of the evening.
Cas came under further pressure with Ryan Boyle in the sin-bin for a high tackle that led to a brief altercation involving most of the players. But although it was a losing cause they defended their line valiantly with the Bulls held up over the line twice.
Scorers - Bradford: Tries Clare, Caro, Mellor, Hooley, Kirk; goals Addy 3. Castleford: Tries Minikin, Sheehan.
Bradford: Thomas; Clare, Ryan, Blythe, Caro; Jacks, Addy; Haggerty, O’Brien, Kavanagh, Olbison, Ferguson, Pitts. Subs: Halafihi, Pickersgill, Caprice, Walshaw, Hooley, Lumb, Bartle, Mellor, Walker, Fleming, Bentley, Kirk, Lauaki.
Castleford: Robson; Sheehan, Gill, Minikin, Hitchcox; Hampshire, Holmes; Springer, O’Neill, Maher, Cooke, Westerman, Boyle. Subs: Fitzsimmons, Douglas, Diskin, Dixon, Johnson, Adamson.
Referee: Ben Thaler.