Former Bulldog Michael Ennis will this week play his first game against his former club after serving six strong years for the blue and white from 2009-2014.
The captain from 2012 to 2014 was a member of the Bulldogs playing squad when they first returned to their spiritual home of Belmore and for the livewire dummy half, he always dreamt of being able to play a club game there.
“I spent a lot of time training there, played a trial game there and I would have loved to of played a club game there, but I get the opportunity to do so on Sunday afternoon,” Ennis told Sharks TV.
“The scenes a few weeks ago when they played Melbourne on the Monday night were enormous.
“They have amazing support in the area and it’s great to see the Bulldogs back there playing and I’m grateful that I will be a part of it on Sunday.”
Ennis forged plenty of friendships during his six year stay at the club, but come Sunday that will be put aside, because as he told Sharks TV, he has a job to do.
“I have a lot of good friends there, had some wonderful times at the club, but I have a job to do on Sunday.
“I will certainly take in the day because I know how much has gone in to get back there, but our job is to go there and win and that’s what I will be trying to do.”
The Bulldogs moved back to Belmore in 2012 after more than 10 years away and for the former skipper, he always knew the Bulldogs at Belmore was meant to be.
“To walk up the street and see the fans, the people in the cafes who make you feel so much a part of the community gave you a real sense of why the Bulldogs and Belmore are meant to be.
“I know all our boys are looking forward to it.”
Ennis was a popular figure amongst the Bulldogs members and supporters throughout his six years with the club.
He gave so much on the field and did everything possible to steer the club in the right direction off it and is aware of how passionate the Bulldogs supporters are.
He led the club for three years, including taking the club to two Grand Final appearances, a minor premiership in 2012 and although he will be in different colours on Sunday, the reception won't be any different.
“They were terrific to me in the six years I was there and I hope that hasn’t changed.
“I left the club on great terms. Still see my ex-teammates and I hope on Sunday there will be a nice reception.”
The man who filled the vacant number nine jersey left by Ennis is former Shark and local junior Michael Lichaa.
Lichaa has been a real find for the Bulldogs in 2015 and happy with his own form this season, Ennis believes he doesn't have a point to prove against his opposite number.
"He is going really well, he's obviously fitted into their structures really well over there. He's a terrific young kid and a guy with a big future ahead of him. It'll be a tough battle out there on Sunday I'd imagine."
It will be a wonderful battle between the two number nines and with both teams sitting on 22 competition points, Ennis doesn’t believe Sunday will be a test to see where there at, rather an opportunity to build on what they’ve done over the recent weeks.
“I think it’s important we go there with a real good attitude, take in the occasion, play the style of footy we know we are capable of and the result will take care of itself.”
BE THERE and experience the magic of Belmore for yourself when we return to take on the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday, July 26. Tickets are selling fast, get yours here: http://bit.ly/Rnd20BulldogsSharks