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6 Reasons Des Hasler will not be missed at Belmore
The 2017 season of the NRL has just kicked off and only days ago we had the Wests Tigers sack their coach Jason Taylor. The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs have performed just as poorly opening their season off with 1 win from 4 games. There are plenty of Dogs fans calling for Hasler to be sacked for many reasons but overall Des has a great record and is one of the more successful coaches in the NRL. The former Manly player's first grade coaching career began in 2004 with the Sea Eagles. He has won two premierships at Manly and taken Canterbury to two grand finals. His winning record is 59% and in his twelve years of coaching his teams have never missed the finals. So why would the Bulldogs not miss him when he goes?
In Round 23 of the 2016 NRL season Hasler's team the Bulldogs had an amazing extra time win over his former club the Sea Eagles 20-16. This was the last win the Bulldogs would have until Round 3 in 2017 when they overcame an average Warriors side 24-12. This is an unimpressive record to say the least and the main problem seems to be their predictability in attack. Some sources say that Des has restricted the Dog's ball playing abilities and has even made it a game plan. This is quite mystifying if true. So here are 6 of the main reasons why the Bulldogs will not miss Des Hasler when he goes.
6. Restricted Attack in the Game Plan
One thing that has been clearly lacking since their Round 23 win over Manly in 2016 is attack. Some have said that it is actually in the game plan of Mr. Hasler. Others will tell you the halves Josh Reynolds and Moses Mbye look lost and inexperienced. The heavy pack of forwards at the bulldogs disposal can sometimes play too much like the halves instead of gaining the heavy meters which in today's game of Rugby League is invaluable. The most recent Canterbury Bankstown game which ended up in a 36-0 thrashing from Des' former club Manly definately tells us that something is not right and it may be time for Des to pack his bags.
5. Tony Williams
Tony Williams played for Manly between 2009 and 2012. He was a powerhouse winger who liked to run over the top of small opposition wingers and was very successful in 2010 being the eagles top try scorer with 16 trys. He moved to the second row in 2011 and was doing very well for a portion of that season. Amazingly Williams was eventually picked for Australia and NSW but never really reached the heights of 2010 again. So that explains why a large portion of Bulldogs fans would hold some resent towards Hasler for bringing in an underachieving Williams in 2013 for over $600,000 a year. That is big money for NRL players especially under performing ones, but Hasler insisted on sticking with the big guy for a further three years on the same pay rate despite the continual bad performances. Finally in 2016 ''T Rex" was cut loose and signed a contract to join the Cronulla Sharks in 2017. Tony's nickname T Rex should be changed to overpaid Lizard!
4. Press Conferences
The only man that can rival Wayne Bennett as king of the boring press conferences is our man Des Hasler. Over the years he has shown zero charisma for the press and at times even struggled to put two words together. One of the only times he actually did show emotion was when he was at the eagles and gave his team an almighty spray. While walking out of the room went to slam a dodgy door and the thing fell right on top of Manly player Jamie Lyon!. There has been the odd fine for him when he is not happy with a referee and the now famous occasion when he referred to the untouchable officials as ''The Voldemorts!" in a reference to Harry Potter. Apart from that his media work is as boring as a Harry Potter movie!
3. Holden Cup Decline
An alarming stat for Bulldogs fans is the steady decline of the Holden Cup team since Des Hasler took over at the helm. The Holden Cup is the National Youth Competition for the up and coming 20 years or younger players. When Des first took over in 2012 both grades were flying high with first grade making the grand final and Holden Cup as premiers. 2013 saw a respectable 4th place finish for the under 20's. In 2014 the young pups had the most losses of anyone and claimed the dreaded wooden spoon. It did not get much better in 2015 with them finishing 10 out of 16 and last year slipping to 11. It is never a good sign when your future hungry superstars' performances are gradually declining.
Holden Cup Decline
2. In Form Players Let Go In Favour Of Under Performers
We have already touched on the craziness that was holding onto Tony Williams but to make it even worse they let bulldozer Frank Pritchard go so Tony could stay. Frank was a huge unstoppable forward that ate up meters and scored many tries. Surely he was a better player to keep on the books than Williams?. Next up was the unbelievable decision to let former captain Michael Ennis leave to join the Sharks. Former Bulldog Ben Barba who was part of the attacking machine that was the 2012 Bulldogs also ended up at the sharks and they both gained a premiership ring in 2016. Meanwhile the Bulldogs slipped out of the finals with a whimper. Andrew Fifita was another player in the sharks grand final winning side that was nearly a Bulldog in 2014. He was close to signing an $800,000 a year contract with the dogs but an idiotic statement to the press about wanting to play rugby and hating the bulldogs as a kid got that deal withdrawn ( So Des can't be blamed for that one!).
Trent Hodgkinson was free to look at other clubs in 2015 and joined the Newcastle Knights in 2016. The dogs have looked lost in the halves ever since Trent left. They have missed Hodgkinson's goal kicking and kicks in play deeply. Dale Finucane is another big loss in the forwards for Canterbury when he was let go to join the Melbourne Storm in 2015. He has since gone on to play in the 2016 Grand Final.
Should The Bulldogs Sack Des Hasler?
The Bulldog Spirit
One thing that is plain to see that Des lacks the Bulldog spirit. Back in the days when Peter ''Bullfrog'' Moore was the CEO of the club it was known as the family club. He gave the club a friendly atmosphere and eventually had his son Kevin play and coach the team. His nephews Garry, Mark and Graeme Hughes proudly wore the mighty Blue and White. Garry Hughes' sons Glen, Steven and Corey later played for them and even players Chris Anderson and Steve Folkes became future coaches and married Peters daughters Lynne and Karen respectively. One of the Bulldog's greatest ever players Terry Lamb said in an interview on Peter Sterling's Fox Sports show that ''some people currently at the club do not fit in with the clubs culture" in 2016. He did not name anyone but it was clear Des Hasler was one of these ''people". One of the last straws for some fans was Club legend Steve Mortimer quitting the board in 2016 because he thought there needed to be changes and they were not happening.
Anyone that has been on any kind of Rugby League social media in the last few days would realise that the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs have a big decision to make about their future and it may come sooner than later. By the time you read this the Bulldogs may already have torn up Des Haslers contract.