Dale will be hoping to go one better this season and while the Spotland club are not quite the finished article, the Mariners are very much a work in progress.
Manager Alan Buckley would be pleased with how his five new signings fitted in against a proven Rochdale line-up, with only Colchester-bound David Perkins missing from the side that went so close to only the second promotion in their history last season.
Talented Rochdale were clearly the better side and would have won it but for two outstanding saves from last season's Town player of the year Phil Barnes.
Grimsby created little, but there was no denying their organisation effort and sheer determination, with new skipper Matt Heywood leading by example.
Their four other new signings all did well to a point, but it is still clear that the one new capture they need is somebody to put the ball in the net.
Veteran Martin Butler nearly won it when he headed the ball past the keeper but could not find the target.
Talented young striker Andy Taylor was a surprise starting choice in preference to Danny North, who replaced him on 62 minutes, but Rochdale had a bit too much know-how to give the pacey young frontman much of a look-in.
At the end of 90 entertaining minutes both sides were probably pleased with the outcome, although clearly Dale boss Keith Hill would feel his side had done more than enough to record a third successive victory at Blundell Park.
On the evidence of this clash Rochdale should again be challenging this season, while Grimsby gave hint of a much more promising future.