Featherstone Lions, under new head coach Craig Booth, lost 42-20 at title favourites Hunslet Club Parkside in their opening National Conference League Division One fixture.
Lions were up against it after having a player controversially sent off after 18 minutes.
Gareth Gale was given his marching orders for an alleged shoulder charge.
Lions trailed 30-4 at half-time but they never threw in the towel and earned plenty of plaudits after giving a battling second-half display.
Credit must go to Hunslet who scored some excellent tries and will take some beating on their own ground.
However, Featherstone’s cause wasn’t helped by debatable refereeing decisions.
New team boss Booth could not fault his side’s commitment after Gale’s dismissal and he felt they were the better side for long periods of the game.
Featherstone’s Joe Fox, Sam Millard and Gale were held close to the try line in the opening minutes.
Hunslet then capitalised on being awarded three consecutive penalties to open the scoring with a converted try.
After Lions were reduced to 12 men with Gale’s departure, Hunslet doubled their lead with another converted try.
Chris Bingham, Scott Glassell, Dean Gamble and James Kitchen worked non stop in the Lions pack while Tom Wandless and Ian Jackson tried hard in the backs.
However, the home side made the most of the extra man to move the ball about to score three more converted tries to lead 30-0 before Lions got on the scoresheet when Jake Perkins intercepted a pass and raced 75 yards for a try on the stroke of half-time.
After words of encouragememt from coach Booth at the break, Lions showed renewed determination in the second-half.
Bingham, Kitchen and Glassell made good yards before Sam Wilson made a timely pick up from a chip through.
The impressive Bingham and Wandless both went close before Scott Glassell scored a solo try that Jackson converted.
Jackson then made a couple of excellent jinking runs and also did well to deal with a towrering kick.
Hunslet finally opened their second-half account with a converted tr but Lions continued to compete superbly.
Jackson made another run before Wandless supplied a lovely pass to send Fox over out wide and Jackson added a touchline conversion.
Lions still refused to give in and good handling by Millard, Bingham and Perkins saw the hard-working Kitchen race over for a touchdown.
Hunslet completed the scoring with another try but Featherstone deserved praise for competing so well with 12 men for most of the match.
Jamie Fields scored two tries and kicked five goals for Hunslet.
Their other try scorers were Michael Waite (two), Andy Hullock, Dannny Harrison and Ben Shulver. Former Lock Lane player Danny Rowse chipped in with two goals.
Lions have their first home game this saturday when they host Blackbrook Royals at the Mill Pond Stadium (2.30pm).
The following week Lions visit derby rivals Normanton Knights.
Lock Lane, relegated from the top-flight last season, lost 36-22 at York Acorn in their first fixture in Division One.
Leading 16-10 at half-time, the Castleford side lost their way badly in the second period.
Lane’s Luke Hands scored two tries and Oliver Bloomer and Joe Willock also crossed.
Connor Land kicked three goals.
Acorn’s try scorers were Ryan Gallagher (three), Josh Thompson, James Mountford, Joe Budd and Brandon Harris.
Lane have a second successive away match this Saturday when they visit derby rivals Normanton Knights who drew 24-24 at Blackbrook in their opening game.