IT MAY only be September but tonight is a massive game for us – it's our first of the season at Rodney Parade and we want to set the tone for our home fixtures.

We go into the Zebre game after a frustrating night against Ulster in Belfast; we went there with confidence and with an attitude to win but just made too many mistakes.

The start went well to lead 8-0 but when the pressure came on and things went against us we reverted to type.

It was only 12-8 at half-time but in the second half our exits were bad and that just invited Ulster onto us. If you are going to win in Belfast you need all 15 to play well and not enough of us did.

One player who certainly has been on form was Ollie Griffiths until he suffered a blow to the shoulder in the first half, an injury that meant I came off the bench.

Ollie is one of our up and coming talents that we have to nurture at the Dragons but he is a quality player in the back row and fingers crossed he will be back available soon.

I've got no doubt that he will go on to big things internationally if he can stay fit and a stay a Dragon he could break all sorts of records here.

We go from Ulster, where I guess we had nothing to lose, into a potential banana skin against Zebre and they will be looking to hit back after being beaten heavily by the Ospreys.

It was the same last year when they came to Rodney Parade on the back of a big loss at Cardiff Blues so we know that they are going to be fired up.

There is no chance of us taking them lightly after they hammered us in Parma on the last day of 2015/16 and they will have benefited from spending the week in Wales.

The Ospreys scored three driving lineout tries with my old buddy Sam 'Blockhead' Parry getting a hat-trick but Zebre will have been working hard to solve that issue and iron out any creases.

I suppose there will be some expecting us to blow them out of the water and get a bonus point but we will walk before we run – first and foremost it's about getting a win.

I am told that we are on a run of 11 league defeats but we have started afresh for the new season and I don't really pay attention to such streaks anyway.

We set performance goals as our measuring tool, then results look after themselves.

I am also told that I will pass Steve 'Jabba' Jones in the Dragons' all-time appearances list this evening. While I take great pride in that, especially since it will come as captain, it the game itself is what matters more.

I don't want that to appear dismissive but it is genuinely all about getting the win, and in any case we recognise starts at the Dragons.

I have my caps for 50 and 100 appearances framed on my wall and I suppose the next target is to be the first to get one for 150, but once again such things won't mean as much unless we start doing well.

As has been publicised, me and my business partner Rich Davenport have taken over the Lamb pub in Bridge Street, Newport.

We have planned a bit of a post-match Q&A tonight so I've got to make sure I play my part in ensuring we are toasting a Dragons win!