Greg Eastwood is using the bitter disappointment felt in Canterbury's 2009 preliminary final as fuel heading into Sunday's NRL grand final against Melbourne.
In Eastwood's first year at the club the Bulldogs lost a preliminary final against Parramatta, who went on to lose the grand final to Melbourne.
Those memories helped power the New Zealand forward to Saturday's man-of-the-match effort in the 32-8 preliminary final thrashing of South Sydney - arguably the best performance of his career.
Eastwood scored a try, set up two more and ran for 149 metres, the second highest amount in his eight-year career.
Despite being just 25, Eastwood said he had taken on a leadership role under new coach Des Hasler and felt it was his responsibility to make sure Bulldogs fans didn't feel the heartache of a late season collapse again.
"I'm becoming a senior player now so I have to step up and take control," Eastwood told AAP.
"There's a lot of young guys in the team, so I want to stand out I guess. If I go forward, they'll follow.
"In '09 losing the semi-final was disappointing and I wanted to make sure it didn't happen again. I felt I owed it to the club and the fans to go out there with a good performance.
"We had a good year that year, but it didn't feel good to bow out in the semis. I wanted to make sure that didn't happen again."
Sunday will be Eastwood's first NRL grand final, but he did play in a Queensland Cup grand final for the Toowoomba Clydesdales in 2006.
"We lost," he said.
"And that will be nothing like what's coming this week. I definitely don't want to lose this week."
Eastwood said Melbourne presented a huge challenge on Sunday, noting their late try-scoring blitz over Manly on Friday night proved the Bulldogs can't afford to ease up for even short periods of the game.
"They showed against Manly how well they can play. The score blew away at the end," he said. "They always play hard for the full 80 minutes.
"We've got to be prepared and we've got to back up our performance."