LAST Saturday was a chance for us to start positively and make a statement of our intent to play attacking rugby at the Dragons this season, and it's fair to say we succeeded.

While it was only a friendly against the Scarlets, the signs were encouraging and there is a really positive mood ahead of the start of the Guinness PRO14.

The European Challenge Cup game against Bordeaux-Begles must be the last time that we scored five tries against strong opposition and we did it by playing some entertaining stuff against Welsh rivals.

There is no chance of us getting ahead of ourselves – and we know that we have a tough first league game against Munster in Limerick – but last weekend showed that we are going in the right direction.

We have an aim to be positive in attack and I know from my time of talking to supporters from the pub and out and about that supporters didn't want us to be kicking so much and keep ball in hand more often.

South Wales Argus:

I remember the derby against the Ospreys when Steve Tandy wanted the game called off – all the records must've been broken for the amount of kicks in one game.

It takes two to tango but our intention is definitely to back ourselves and to play more this season, and that has come from training this summer.

It has been enjoyable and positive but sessions are also brutal; there is more bone on bone training and the intensity is high.

The boys have bought into what new boss Dean Ryan wants from us, but that has also come from him empowering us. I firmly believe that when players aren't dictated to then there tends to be more buy-in.

Maybe that is because we have a nice blend of youth and experience in the squad with plenty of players in that mid-20s bracket and now seen as leaders at their peak, or approaching it.

South Wales Argus:

We are still a young side and that is shown by Tavis Knoyle being our oldest back at 29, but the likes of Jack Dixon, Ashton Hewitt and Jordan Williams have plenty of experience under their belts.

I've been having to remind a few people that I'm not quite ready for the glue factory myself after rolling back the years to start at number eight last weekend – I'm only just 32!

However, I'll admit that at times in recent seasons I have felt mentally tired because of the way results and performances have gone, it can take its toll.

That has a knock-on on your physical and mental health but I am feeling good ahead of the start of another season.

Things seems to be falling into place nicely but we are not delusional – we know that there is plenty of hard work ahead, Dean won't let us forget that despite it being a positive start.

South Wales Argus:

THINGS are looking up at the Dragons and hopefully the future is bright at Newport High School Old Boys.

I've taken up a role of director of rugby for the club to try and help the coaches with strategies and drills from mini and juniors up to the youth and seniors.

It's where it all started for Ashley Smith and I, and there are plenty of derbies in Division Two East so it will be an interesting year ahead!

The opportunity to go and assist the other coaches, Rhys Thomas and Dai Fussell, came about through talking to my friend Mark Bale, who is captain of the firsts and hoping to get the mini and junior section as it was when we were playing (a few years ago) with it being the largest in Wales at one stage.

The DOR IS a bit of a grand title but it's a way to put a strategy in place off the field and to help in any way that I can for performances on it.

I will be starting a series of coaching workshops to pass on some drills and try to develop a bit of a NHSOB philosophy that will go all the way through to the first team.

I am sure I will have plenty of positives to talk about from Yew Tree Lane in this column throughout the season!