And it delivered.
Most observers looked at the team sheets, though, and had it down for an easy home win as Warrington fielded the side which unceremoniously ejected Wigan from the Cup last weekend, and nilled them in the process.
Facing them was a patched-up Castleford team featuring the under-19s fullback – only told he was playing for the first team this afternoon – a signing from Halifax and a player recalled from a season-long loan.
But it was the Tigers who opened the scoring in less than five minutes when England second-rower Mike McMeeken grounded his own grubber and young full-back Calum Turner converted for a 6-0 lead.
And it was Turner who doubled that lead minutes later.
A great break by Adam Milner – hooker turned loose forward turned hooker again in the absence of Paul McShane – took the visitors up field and Jake Trueman’s kick at the end of the set bounced back off the crossbar for Turner to pick up and dive over.
He converted again and the visitors looked good value for the lead.
But by the 12th minute, Wire were recovering from the shock of going behind. Josh Charnley knocked a Kevin Brown kick back to Tyrone Roberts to score in the corner. Five minutes later fullback Stefan Ratchford scored a typical try and although Harvey Livett failed to convert either score, Warrington were definitely in the game.
On 20 minutes Daryl Clark crossed, converted by Livett, to give the hosts the lead for the first time and when he put Sitaleki Akauola over 10 minutes later, again with a Livett conversion, Warrington were 20-12 in front and it looked like Castleford may have shot their bolt.
But they refused to give in. Jy Hitchcox got over in the corner with five minutes to half time, after the Tigers moved the ball along the line and a great final ball from Turner put the Australian winger in.
Turner converted and then tied the scores up at 20 all with a penalty on the stroke of half time.
The visitors had the early pressure in the second half too, but just six minutes in, Milner was sin-binned for an off-the-ball shoulder charge and Charnley took advantage of the overlap to go over in the corner. The conversion was missed again, but Warrington were back out in front at 24-20.
Castleford refused to lie down though: 33-year-old Super League debutant Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e, signed from Halifa, scored on 61 minutes after a mazy run by captain Michael Shenton and a superb offload by Jesse Sene-Lafao and turned provider for Oli Holmes five minutes later.
Both tries were goaled by Turner to put Warrington 24-32 behind.
But the Wire came back again, with Charnley scoring in the corner once more, converted by Bryson Goodwin to set up a tens final 10 minutes with just a two-point head.
But strong defence by Castleford kept them out and a 74th minute penalty to the visitors in front of the sticks – kicked by Adam Milner, his first ever goal – gave a final score of 30-34 for the patched together Tigers.
The win put the West Yorkshire team level on points with their Cheshire hosts, with a game in hand – though Warrington still hold third place thanks to a better points difference.
Half Time: 20-20
Warrington: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwn, Atkins, Charnley, Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, Westwood.
Replacements: Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Philbin, Akauola.
Tries: Charnley 2, Roberts, Ratchford, Clark, Akaula.
Goals: Livett 2, Goodwin
Castleford: Turner, Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Hitchcox, Lauu-Togaga’e, Trueman, Millington, Milner, Cook, Wardle, McMeeken, Sene-Lefao.
Replacements: Holmes, Massey, Clark, Maher.
Tries: McMeeken, Turner, Hitchcox, Laulu-Togaga’e, Holmes.
Goals: Turner 6, Milner
Referee: Ben Thaler