IT’S our last big game of the season at Rodney Parade tonight and we’re determined to go out with a bang.

Let’s make no bones about it, things haven’t gone to plan this year but we need to show our mental strength to finish well in the Guinness PRO14.

Nobody is clocking off and thinking about next season, we’ve got four fixtures left with the Cheetahs tonight, a double-header in Italy then one of the biggest games of the season, Judgement Day against the Scarlets, to finish.

We need to win tonight to give some cheer to our supporters who have been there for some frustrating performances lately; Benetton we could have, should have won whilst Edinburgh slightly had the edge on us in Ebbw Vale.

Then we had a great experience in Port Elizabeth in which the only disappointment was the game. It was a useful trip for us that I feel will be beneficial going forward with a number of our younger players growing thanks to the experience.

Port Elizabeth is a special place and Zane Kirchner came into his own as a DJ/tour guide at the front of the bus.

It was nice to have a dip in the sea rather than an ice bath in a wheelie bin while the weather was great for training, although one or two boys were a bit overconfident with the conditions.

Rynard Landman said he was used to the South African sun but came out a nice shade lobster red after forgetting to put the Factor 50 on his scalp.

But there is no getting away from the on-field disappointment after a game that we were leading with 39 minutes gone.

To concede a try with the last play of the half for Southern Kings to lead 14-13 at the break meant that we were deflated and their tails were up.

We still felt that we were in a good position at half-time but them scoring straight after the restart killed us. We didn’t execute the game plan and allowed them to attack from deep.

It’s typical that the Kings would save their best game of the season for us but we have had to dust ourselves down and have had the chance to recover mentally and physically.

Now we have this big game against a Cheetahs side that have caused big problems for other teams in the league, so we need to be organised but also have to enjoy playing attacking rugby ourselves.

It’s been a tough season but there are four rounds left to get some positives to take into next year.

Speaking of positives, it’s been great to see Cory Hill and Elliot Dee doing so well with Wales.

They have represented the Dragons – and the Dragons pack – really impressively in the Six Nations.

It’s been great to see them both kicking on and having them back will be a big boost for tonight.

Cory is an important figure as our captain and I think that it had been well documented that he has developed his game even more after having a leadership role with Wales.

Elliot has also returned after a lively tournament and it’s a real positive to see somebody go from our side to performing really impressively in Test rugby.

The selection of James Benjamin, Angus O’Brien and Hallam Amos for the Commonwealth Games next month also shows the quality that we are developing in the region, while we’ve also had eight boys away with the Under-20s for the Six Nations.

We’ll see some of that youthful exuberance in our side from Taine Basham tonight while injuries throughout the season have meant plenty of others have had a taste of regional rugby. That bodes well for the future at Rodney Parade.