Captain Josh Grajczonek believes his hard-riding Australian winter could pay dividends when the No1 Carpet Cleaning Poole Pirates get their season under way at King’s Lynn tomorrow (7.30pm).

Grajczonek came in for some terrace criticism early on last season, before rallying alongside his Pirates troops to claim an against-all-odds SGB Premiership title triumph in October.


But that criticism was nothing compared with the stick the Queenslander gave himself before heading back to Townsville for a winter of hard work and practice.


Grajczonek said: “Last year was a bit of a circus for us and we were very up and down, but we managed to get it together, push for the play-offs and eventually win the title.


“It was one of those years where you look back and think ‘How did we do that’ but things went our way and once we got there, we won it.


"I rode badly for most of last year so I rode quite a bit over the winter back home, doing motocross, speedway and dirt track. I’ve tried to fix some of the things that went wrong last year and did a lot of work, so it was a good winter and I enjoyed it.”


The Pirates Class of 2019’s hopes of some track time prior to tonight’s Premiership Shield first leg at the Adrian Flux Arena were thwarted by the weather, with a challenge meeting against Somerset and the annual press and practice session both biting the dust last week.


However, Grajczonek is confident the 2019 Pirates have enough European track time under their belts to hit the ground running in Norfolk.


He added: “I’ve been fortunate to ride in Poland over the last few weeks.


“It was disappointing that the Somerset meeting was off and then the press day as well but that’s the way it goes and you can’t beat the weather.


“But I’m sure we’ll be okay once we get to King’s Lynn and all the boys have had a chance to race somewhere this season, which is good.”


The Stars started their own 2019 campaign with a heavy defeat to Ipswich in the new Premiership Supporters’ Cup on Thursday, going down 59-31 at Foxhall.


Stars: Robert Lambert, Erik Riss, Ty Proctor, Lewis Kerr, Thomas Jorgensen, Michael Palm Toft, Kasper Andersen.


Pirates: Jack Holder, Josh Grajczonek, Nicolai Klindt, Richie Worrall, Brady Kurtz, Nico Covatti, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen.

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