SPEEDSTER Ashton Hewitt says he has a point to prove to his new Dragons boss after being forced to show resilience in a 2018/19 write-off.

The 24-year-old from Newport failed to make a single appearance last season after suffering a shoulder injury when training with Wales last summer.

The blow denied the winger a first cap and a pair of operations led to him watching on, unable to help, as the Rodney Parade region endured a torrid campaign.

However, Hewitt is back fighting fit and the livewire runner is ready to be a leading figure for Dean Ryan's Dragons.

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"I'm buzzing to be back," said the winger, who signed a contract extension until 2021 in the off-season. "Most boys dread coming in for pre-season, but with the situation I've been in, I was really looking forward to it.

"Just knowing I was going to be able to come back, after putting that extra bit of work in when the boys were off in the off-season, I couldn't stop smiling. It's been great to jump straight in with the boys.

"Last year I would have been in the gym looking at the boys out in the sun. It's just so good to be back in the main group, with ball in hand, being able to do everything."

"I think everyone is enjoying it and obviously there's that element that the boys want to impress. The boys have a point to prove - especially me," he continued.

"We've got new boys coming in who might not know how I play and I don't know if Dean has seen me play.

"I need to impress and I'm sure all the boys will be working towards the same thing - being first choice this season."

Hewitt made his Dragons debut in 2013 and has scored 21 tries in 72 appearances.

He captained the side for the first time at Northampton in 2017, has grown as a leader and will shoulder more responsibility in attack after the departure of Wales wing/full-back Hallam Amos to Cardiff Blues.

Dragons supporters know all about Hewitt's threat with ball in hand but the back had to show mental strength during a campaign without any game time.

"You learn as a rugby player you've got to go through those stages when things don't go as you want and learn from them," he said.

"It would have been easy for me to lose my head a bit when I found out that I needed to have another operation. It's the longest period I've gone without playing rugby so that was a tough one to swallow.

"You do worry, there are days when you're fine and there are days when you're not so fine. You just learn more resilience when you're put in that situation for the first time.

"You've just got to deal with it and be as professional as you can be and I feel I have learnt a lot from this period."

Hewitt is joined by Jared Rosser, Dafydd Howells, Jordan Williams, Will-Talbot-Davies and Adam Warren plus prospects Rio Dyer, Joe Goodchild and James McCarthy as a back-three option and hopes the runners get plenty of opportunities to stretch their legs.

He said: "Everyone is keen to get the ball in hand now and see how Dean wants to play and how he wants to the boys to behave on the pitch.

"It will be nice to get a little bit of structure and know what we're working towards and go from there.

"Ultimately, for me, it's just so good to be back out there and not be stuck in that gym."