FIRST of all in my debut column for the Argus I'd like to thank Lewis Evans for last week's introduction and giving up the newspaper inches usually reserved for his free advertisements for The Lamb.

It's also only right I applaud him for his leadership over the last few years – it felt like Lewis had taken the role of Michael Caine in the classic film 'Zulu' at times last season with relentless pressure from all angles.

As a squad we all concur he did a great job in very difficult circumstances.

But times have changed; we've got some reinforcements and an upgraded arsenal to fight with and as a senior group of players we will endeavour to help our new captain Cory Hill do the best he can to lead us into the future.

Like Lewis mentioned last week, I am just as grumpy as he is and, for my sins, I'm slightly blunter when it comes to voicing my opinion.

And it's using those 'qualities', as well as regular interviews with the better looking half of the squad, that I hope to give you a real insight into what happens behind the scenes and away from Rodney Parade on the weekends.

Pre-season has been brutal but very rewarding from a backs perspective this year with a huge emphasis on skill sets, positive play and top-end fitness.

As a backline we have never shied away from the fact we believe we have players to rival many teams in this league, and with the shapes and principles being brought in this season it will give us a platform to show everyone why.

Competition for places in the back line is fierce while everyone is fit and healthy.

An example of this is Adam Warren and Carl Meyer, two mainstays of the team last season, playing in the Premiership last weekend.

We know that competition drives performance, which in turn drives results.

I was absolutely gutted to miss out on the opening game against Leinster but I spoke with the coaches, drew a line under it and gave the boys in my position my upmost support. I'm sure that was the same for all the boys who missed out.

I was 'travelling reserve' on Saturday afternoon, doing the warm-up and covering for any last-minute injuries, and I have to start by commenting on the pre-match atmosphere around the stadium.

It was great to see and speak to many fans that hadn't attended a Dragons game in a few years and were willing to give us another chance.

The mix of new and old faces as well as an air of optimism meant for a brilliant atmosphere like which I haven't experienced for many seasons.

I hope the fans that came to the game on Saturday saw for themselves the effort that has gone into giving the whole business a facelift.

From Rodney Parade, which looked fantastic, the new Desso pitch and the open and attacking style of rugby the boys played, it should have been an enjoyable experience.

Nobody in the environment has said we will turn this around within a few weeks, but we will stick our neck out and promise small improvements every game we play.

Don't get me wrong, we are bitterly disappointed with the result, as the effort and commitment did not reflect on the scoreboard.

It's up to us to work on the reasons why that is the case and trust me, Bernard will make sure we know why.

There is a huge amount of accountability within the environment now and absolutely no hiding place from a poor performance.

I would like to finish off my debut column by saying how fantastic it was to see Ed Jackson on Saturday afternoon with his family supporting the boys.

If there is anyone we can look up to for inspiration on how to better yourself everyday it's him.

I know he appreciates the support he has received from everyone involved with the Dragons, and long may it continue.