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The dream to shut down Belmore: Inspired by the 'Dogs of War'

From watching Andrew Ryan’s match-winning tackle to closing down the streets of Belmore for a party like no other, Bulldogs fans will never forget where they were on the night of October 3, 2004.

2004 Premiers, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
2004 Premiers, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

The scenes at Canterbury Leagues Club is a story heard too many times for Bulldogs rookie Jordan Samrani, who was only a then two-year-old but has his father to give him a friendly reminder.

“I grew up a mad Bulldogs fan and in 2004 dad and my uncle tell me this story that they shut the Leagues club when they won,” Samrani said.

“People were doing burnouts all night, beeping their horns, standing on top of utes and just being rowdy. The team bus got back to the Leagues club and it was all fenced off.

“No one was allowed to go in after they came through Belmore to the club but my dad and uncle got through at the back entrance of the car park.

“They managed to get in and partied with the players all night.

“I went to the 2012 and 2014 grand finals when I got old enough but to win a grand final and see the aftermath would’ve been something special for them.”

It’s a feeling Samrani wants to bring back to the Bulldogs community and in the club’s 20th anniversary season since their last title he is in awe of the former premiership heroes at the club.

While majority of the squad were children during Canterbury’s last title triumph, they have seen enough from the ‘Dogs of War’ era to forever be inspired.

The likes of Ryan, Mark O'Meley, Willie Mason and Roy Asotasi are regulars around training under Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo.

“It was crazy last year when Mase and Ogre were around a lot more at training,” Samrani said.

“They’re proper Bulldogs. What they were able to achieve at the Club set a benchmark for everyone to achieve for many years.”

Ask any Bulldogs player to name their favourite old boy from the premiership-winning 2004 campaign and their faces beam before providing an answer. 

“Having players like Ogre, Mase and Bobcat around it’s amazing,” Bulldogs centre and winger Jacob Kiraz said.

“They know what it takes and everyone talks about 2004, how tough they were and the big plays they consistently came up with on grand final night and in big matches.

“It’s good they’re here now for the young boys to mentor and lead us. I hate losing and want to look back on bad times one day when we’re winning comps and appreciate why we went through what we have previously.

“My family and I have always been Bulldogs fans. We’ve got the best fans in the world and I can’t imagine what it would be like to win a competition and replicate shutting down Belmore.

“My dad and uncles have told me all about it, how much everyone got behind them and how much it meant to the community. We’d love to be able to make them proud.”

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.