Steve McCormack got his Widnes career off to a winning start as the relegated Vikings overcame their Super League neighbours Warrington 24-18 in a pre-season friendly at Halton Stadium yesterday.
Two tries from Vikings second row Paul Alcock put the seal on victory as a side featuring 11 debutants - including Australian full-back David Peachey - secured bragging rights over their arch-rivals.
Leeds' preparations for Super League XI got off to a solid start with an eight-try romp in a 42-18 victory against Wakefield.
Youngsters Ashley Gibson and Jordan Tansey both scored twice as a new-look Rhinos outfit made fewer errors than their Yorkshire rivals. Leeds' assistant coach Brian McDermott handed debuts to overseas signings Scott Donald and Mark O'Neill while Nathan McAvoy and Shane Millard also made their first appearances for Leeds.
The afternoon's biggest cheer came for O'Neill - captain of Australia's NRL champions Wests Tigers in 2005 - when he made his introduction from the bench midway through the first half. He played only four minutes but produced two huge tackles.
Both clubs are less than a month into their pre-season training schedules and both will take heart from what they saw.
Newly-promoted Castleford overcame spirited resistance from local rivals Featherstone to win 28-4 in Australian coach Terry Matterson's first match in charge. The Tigers, who fielded only seven first-team players, took a 12-0 lead with two tries shortly before half-time.
Featherstone, who were relegated to National League Two last season, continued to battle gamely but Castleford sealed victory with further touchdowns from Jack Goodacre and Michael Shenton, although Castleford's Matt Whitaker and Featherstone's Jim Carlton were both sin-binned after a 52nd-minute altercation.Reuse content