Low of Knights humiliation powering Dogs revival: Kiraz

George Clarke |

Jacob Kiraz (centre) believes going through tough times has helped the Bulldogs.
Jacob Kiraz (centre) believes going through tough times has helped the Bulldogs.

Jacob Kiraz winces when reminded of what happened the last time Canterbury faced Newcastle and suffered the second-biggest defeat in the club’s history.

The Bulldogs were pumped 66-0 and booed off Accor Stadium after conceding 11 tries in an abject display that prompted football manager Phil Gould to front the media and defend the NRL club’s direction.

“You don’t forget that, it’s the biggest loss I’ve ever been a part of,” Kiraz told AAP ahead of Sunday’s meeting at the same venue.  

“I remember at that moment how low we all were.

“It wasn’t a good feeling, and when the year finished we said to each other ‘we never want to feel this way again’.

“I feel those moments… we’ll look back and say ‘thank God that happened’, because everything happens for a reason.”

Kiraz is a devout Christian and believes the testing times of last year – highlighted by the Newcastle loss nine months ago – have led to an uptick in form for the Dogs of 2024.

Off the field Kiraz was also challenged with injuries and the health of his brother Joseph, who is thankfully now in remission after being diagnosed with leukaemia. 

“We feel the buzz around Belmore when we’ve played well, we’ll go for breakfast and you see the fans, they’re praising you, saying ‘good game’,” the winger said.

“They’re happy and I know it’s been a tough road, because I was a (Bulldogs) fan. 

“It’s been a tough gig for our fans thinking it’s our year every year, but hopefully people see this year we are a different team and our effort gives them a bit of excitement.” 

On the surface Canterbury’s 2-4 record suggests they have struggled, but it overlooks the fact that in all but one of those losses they’ve been in the fight right up until the death. 

While the Dogs have shown signs of growth from last July’s meeting with Newcastle, the Knights used it as a turning point to go on a 10-game winning run into the finals.

“We’ve been close in a lot of games and we’re learning from it,” Kiraz said. 

“All it takes is literally one win, and then once you’re on that momentum and once we get that win then we will be a team that’s very hard to stop.

“To be honest I can’t wait for that moment to come, and I know and believe it will come.” 

AAP