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Bulldogs Celebrate 2023 Dr George Peponis Medal

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have celebrated their annual awards presentation evening, gathering at Doltone House last night to enjoy the Dr. George Peponis medal.

Despite the challenges faced by the Bulldogs throughout the year, the event reflected the club's unwavering commitment to their family values, growth and resilience, and celebrated the solidarity and hard work of their players and staff who went above and beyond during the season. 

Taking the top honours of the evening, whilst also collecting the Carroll & O'Dea Members Player of the Year and Steve Mortimer Rookie of the Year Awards, Jacob Preston remained humble:

"To be honest, I was just stoked to be training full-time with first grade this year," he said.

"Every game to be playing first is unbelievable. I grew up the biggest footy nerd and every time I run out, I just cherish it so much.

"To be playing NRL, it's been crazy. We didn't have the success we had hoped for but I definitely learnt a lot of lessons out of this year."

Also collecting Awards at the evening, were Jacob Kiraz, Viliame Kikau, Jayden Tanner, Lachlan Vale and Josh Kalati:

2023 Dr George Peponis Medal Player of the Year, Carroll & O'Dea Members Player of the Year & Steve Mortimer Rookie of the Year: Jacob Preston.

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Appearing in 20 games in his debut season, Jacob Preston proved to be a shining light amongst the Bulldogs forward pack. With a 95.5% tackle efficiency, Jacob showed big effort in consistently putting in powerful 80 minute performances throughout the season. Making his talent known throughout 2023, Jacob is also praised for his strong ambition, dedication and good character both on an off the field.

Receiving awards for both Player of the Year, and Members Player of the Year, illustrates the effort he has put in throughout the season, and faith in which the Club and community has in the seconder rower.

Being coined a ‘future leader’ of the Bulldogs by General Manager of Football Phil Gould, it is clear the Rookie of the Year recipient has a long career and promising future ahead of him. 

2023 Coaches Award: Jacob Kiraz

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Putting in another year of impressive performances, local junior Jacob Kiraz secures the Coaches Award, after receiving Rookie of the Year in the 2022 season. Defined by his grit and fight shown in every game, Head Coach Cameron Ciraldo spoke highly of Jacob's efforts throughout the 2023 season stating he had played under adversity and embodied the full values of a Bulldog: Excellence, Grit and Family.

Despite playing through injury throughout the year (ankle and stress fractures in his back), Jacob racked up 76 tackle breaks, seven line breaks and six tries.

2023 Community Service Award: Viliame Kikau.

As a key member of the Bulldogs' leadership group, The Guard Dogs, Viliame Kikau was tasked with leading the way on club culture, and expectations.

Sustaining an injury after just three appearences for the Bulldogs, Viliame utilised his down time by travelling back to Fiji to launch a new Rugby League Academy in his name, the Kikau Academy. Nominated for the 2023 Ken Stevens Medal, Viliame Kikau has been recognised for his efforts in creating opportunity for his local community in Rugby League.

2023 Terry Lamb NSW Cup Player of the Year: Jayden Tanner.

Averaging an impressive 137 running metres per game, Jayden is a reliable and consistent player in the team, not afraid to do the hard yards. His work ethic is his biggest strength, as seen through his huge efforts in always making the top tackle count.

It is no surprise that he has been recognised with this Award, which is a testament to his exceptional skill and hard work.

2023 Hazem El Masri Jersey Flegg Player of the Year: Lachlan Vale.

Hailed as a ‘standout player’, second rower Lachlan Vale has excelled in the Jersey Flegg side this season. Playing 17 games and significant minutes throughout the year, Lachlan has been commended on running smart lines, defending his edge and for his versatility within the Jersey Flegg side.

Lachlan is known for embodying the values of the Bulldogs - hard work, selflessness, and exceptional dedication. He tirelessly works for his teammates and is someone everyone wants to have on their side year after year.

2023 Ron Massey Player of the Year: Josh Kalati.

Captaining the Ron Massey Cup side this year, there is no one more deserving than Josh Kalati to receive this Award. Making appearances in both the NSW Cup and Ron Massey squads, showcases the versatility and depth Josh brings to the Bulldogs.

Comended on his leadership qualities, Josh is recognised for this Award due to his ability to lead by example.

The Bulldogs would like to congratulate all of our Award recipients in 2023. To see a full list of all Bulldogs Award recipients in 2023, please see below:

Award Recipient
Dr George Peponis Medal, Bulldogs 2023 NRL Player of the Year Jacob Preston
Steve Mortimer Medal, Bulldogs 2023 Rookie of the Year Jacob Preston
Les Johns Medal, Bulldogs 2023 Clubperson of the Year Melanie Riccio
Carroll & O'Dea Bulldogs 2023 Members Player of the Year Jacob Preston
Bulldogs 2023 Community Service Award Viliame Kikau
Bulldogs 2023 Coaches Award Jacob Kiraz
Terry Lamb Medal, Bulldogs 2023 NSW Cup Player of the Year Jayden Tanner
Hazem El Masri, Bulldogs 2023 Jersey Flegg Player of the Year Lachlan Vale
Bulldogs 2023 Ron Massey Cup Player of the Year Josh Kalati
Bulldogs 2023 Employee of the Year Caitlin Glanville
Bulldogs 2023 Harold Matthews Cup Player of the Year Mitchell Woods
Bulldogs 2023 SG Cup Player of the Year AJ Jones
Bulldogs 2023 Tarsha Gale Cup Player of the Year Tarli Dennis
Bulldogs 2023 Harvey Norman Womens Premiership Player of the Year Holli Wheeler


Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.