RICKY Fetske may be 33 now, but the Bradford Dragons power forward wants to keep playing for a while just yet, so his young son gets the chance to watch him in action.

The new National Basketball League Division One season gets underway for the Dragons with a visit to Hemel Storm on Saturday, the same team who knocked them out of the pre-season KitKing Trophy at the quarter-final stage earlier this month.

There is some exciting young talent within the Dragons' roster, but they still have plenty of faith in experienced heads like American star Fetske.

And he told the T&A: "I want to play on for as long as possible. I think I've still got a few years left minimum.

"My son is only two years old, and I'd like him to see me playing at a good level still.

"With my style, I play as a shooter. That means I use less energy, so I can hopefully expand my game and career for longer.

"I love the club at Bradford, there's a real family atmosphere, and some of these guys have been my team-mates for the last seven years now.

"With most of my family back in the US, my team-mates have become like brothers to me, so I want to keep that relationship up for as long as possible.

"At 33, it is more of a challenge to keep fit, but I've got a good routine."

Fetske will hope that routine serves him well ahead of the trip to Hemel this weekend, with the Hertfordshire outfit one of the strongest in the division.

They beat Bradford 99-78 in the cup less than a fortnight ago, but Fetske insisted: "We believe we can compete with them, one hundred per cent.

"Any game of basketball ebbs and flows, and sees teams go on runs.

"We competed with them throughout the other week, but they had a good spell in the second quarter and that left us having to play catch up.

"The second half was close, but again they went on a late run to make their win look emphatic.

"But if we focus on Saturday and produce what we're capable of, I'm optimistic about us putting in a good performance."

One Dragons player who can surely escape any criticism for that cup loss to Hemel is new signing Jordon Whelan, who racked up 25 points, more than anyone else from either team.

Fetske said: "Jordon's come in from the Manchester Giants. They play in the BBL, which is the top-flight of British basketball.

"He comes to us with immense talent, and everyone in our team respects him because he's such a humble guy.

"He's going to be a real asset for us and key to how we perform this season, because he brings leadership, offensive skills and defensive ability."

Bradford are not going into the league season cold, having had four KitKing Trophy games to warm up.

Fetske said: "It was good because the games came against teams we'll be facing in the league too.

"It would be good to play for as long as possible this season.

"Hopefully, we'll finish in the top eight to get into the play-offs, which we missed out on last year, and maybe try to reach the National Cup final.

"Saying that, while we can plan long-term, it's better to just take it one game at a time.

"If we can just focus on what's in front of us, it's more likely our long-term goals can become reality."