PROMOTER Danny Ford believes a battle of the Australians for the Pirates number one race jacket could be the catalyst for a successful SGB Premiership title defence.

Ford watched his class of 2019 secure a hard-earned point on the road at Peterborough on Monday to kick off their league campaign, with the Premiership Shield already in the trophy cabinet following a two-legged victory over King’s Lynn.

Brady Kurtz started the season in fine form, bagging 11 and seven paid eight scores against the Stars and contributing eight against the Panthers on Monday.

Jack Holder put early gremlins behind him with paid 12 at East of England Arena.

And while attention now turns to the Premiership Supporters’ Cup, with back-to-back meetings against Swindon, Ford believes a personal battle for the top spot will spur the team forward.

He said: “It’s great to see both Jack and Brady back in Pirates colours and I believe they will help drive each other forward this season.

“Even though Brady perhaps struggled with being the number one rider last season at times, he’s come back after the winter with real confidence and I think he will be pushing Jack for that race jacket.

“Jack won’t want to give it up, though, and I really think that internal battle will help ensure we are in the mix again at the end of the season.”

On Pirates' start to the season, Ford said: "After last year’s poor start, everyone at the club was keen to hit the ground running this time – and I think we’ve done that.

“The performance at King’s Lynn in the shield was excellent and although we narrowly lost the home leg, it’s all about doing enough over the two meetings and we did.

“Peterborough is never an easy place to go and when they have a track expert like Hans Andersen up there, it’s even harder, so a point was a good result.”

Swindon started their own campaign with a narrow 46-44 defeat to Wolverhampton at Monmore Green on Monday, with former Pirates Troy Batchelor (14) and Jason Doyle (9+2) looking in good form.

Pirates travel to Abbey Stadium tomorrow (7.30pm) in the newly-created Supporters’ Cup before the Robins visit Wimborne Road on Friday (11.30am) in the same competition.

Robins: Jason Doyle, Adam Ellis, Tobiasz Musielak, Dawid Lampart, Troy Batchelor, Zach Wajtknecht, James Shanes.

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