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Bradford Dragons face Leeds in opening test
Bradford Dragons get their season underway today with a derby tie against Leeds Carnegie.
The Dragons have worked hard in the off-season to bring back a team even stronger than the one that achieved their highest-ever league position last year.
But opening-day tests do not come much tougher as they face local rivals Leeds Carnegie in the National Trophy.
Dragons head coach Chris Mellor is more than aware of the importance of the game and said: “It should be a good local derby with West Yorkshire bragging rights on the line.
“It all stems from defence for us. If we can get back in transition, do well rebounding and keep them out on the perimeter, we’ll have a good chance.”
Leeds started their season last weekend, losing 61-67 at home to a strong Bristol Academy Flyers team. The Dragons will rely on some familiar fan favourites to secure the win, including Bradford veteran Vance Silcott who sees the game as a vital one for two reasons.
He said: “Firstly its a big local derby and we want to set the tone for the season by beating them. Secondly its an opportunity to allow the new players to fit into the team and find their role.”
Bradford are not just focused on the opening game but are looking forward to the new season. They are keen to improve on their record-breaking performance of last year and Latvian guard Daumants Pabrieza, who is returning from injury, is in a confident mood.
“We have got a really good squad and a top-three finish is the minimum we expect,” he said.
Mellor added: “We aim to be competitive every night and be one of the better defensive teams.”
Today’s game tips off at 6.15pm and is set to be a full house at Bradford College Sports Hall on Trinity Road.