Canterbury Bulldogs winger Jacob Kiraz has opened up on the club's captaincy change that saw the reigns handed to new recruit Stephen Crichton.

The three-time premiership winner with the Penrith Panthers will take over from former Panthers centre Matt Burton and hooker Reed Mahoney as Cameron Ciraldo shakes up the leadership group.

In what was a surprising revelation, Crichton has only played 99 games to date but has managed to learn from experienced leaders such as Apisai Koroisau, Nathan Cleary and Isaah Yeo during his time at the foot of the mountains.

It wasn't only a surprise to fans and media, but Bulldogs winger Jacob Kiraz revealed that it also caught many of the players off guard.

“It was an easy choice, I've gotten along with ‘Critta' pretty good ever since he came to the club,” Kiraz told SEN 1170 The Run Home.

“No one really knows how much of a pest he is in the changerooms but that's just the way he is, but honestly his first week he came early and we had an army camp, the way he showed leadership skills and I'm sure it's not easy coming into a new team but the way he showed he's a natural leader.

“Obviously his resume speaks for itself.”

Cameron Ciraldo confirmed that Mahoney and Burton agreed the way forward was to have Crichton captain in 2024. However, the coach stated that they would remain leaders within the team.

“(For) all the boys, it wasn't a shock for us honestly when he got the captaincy,” Kiraz added.

“He leads by it, even with his actions on the field and the way his been training have been amazing.

“I can't wait to play for him.”

The Canterbury Bulldogs will begin their 2024 NRL season against inner-state rivals, the Parramatta Eels, next week as both sides look to begin their campaign with a victory.