Head Coach Des Hasler will tonight be in charge of the Bulldogs side for the 100th time.
After eight years with the Manly Sea Eagles where he won two premierships in 2008 and 2011, Hasler joined the Bulldogs in 2012 and made an immediate impact.
The two seasons prior to Hasler’s arrival were poor, with the club failing to make the finals, but 2012 saw the club finish as Minor Premiers and along the way they chalked up 18 victories over the course of the regular season, including a 12 game winning streak.
The Bulldogs went on to reach the Grand Final, but were unable to come away with the ultimate prize, going down to the Melbourne Storm 14-4.
Hasler had changed a lot at Belmore, including the training regime, the training facility, the brand of footy the Bulldogs played, brought in new equipment and technology to benefit the players and put together a world class football department.
He is one of the hardest working coaches in the game and his attention to detail is second to none.
Described by many as a ‘mad scientist’ or a ‘nutty professor’, Hasler brings out the best in players which was evident in 2012, when he helped transition former Bulldog Ben Barba into a Dally M Medallist and one of the most exciting footballers in the game.
2013 was a tough year for the club both on and off the field and eventually resulted in the club being knocked out of the finals in week one.
Hasler analyses everything, every team and every player better than anyone and after a lean 2013, he had his team ready and firing for the 2014 season.
The club began the year with eight wins from its first 10 games, including seven in a row before the State of Origin period hit.
Hasler juggled the loss of players to Origin and injury as best he could, but the season gave him an opportunity to blood youngsters like Moses Mbye and David Klemmer who have since become regular first graders, Origin and Australian players.
The Bulldogs won two of their final eight games to scrape into the finals in the seventh position on 30 points and it had many wondering what the Bulldogs would do, but in true Des Hasler fashion, his response was short and swift.
“When semi-finals come around, it’s a different competition,” Hasler said at the time. “This Canterbury side can apply themselves to big matches and it’s a different level of football.”
Applying themselves to finals football and responding was exactly the response Hasler received from his team, after the Bulldogs thumped the Storm in Melbourne, dug deep and hung in against Manly to win in golden point extra-time, before ending the fairy-tail season of the Panthers in week three of the finals.
Unfortunately the Bulldogs ran into an in-form Rabbitohs side and were unable to take the trophy back to Belmore, but once again Hasler led the Bulldogs to another Grand Final appearance, two in three years and showed why he is one of the best coaches the game has seen over the past decade.
2015 has been a frustrating year for the Bulldogs, with injury, suspension and the Origin period upsetting the continuity of the Bulldogs, but with all those distractions behind them, the Bulldogs find themselves in a very similar position to last year and with a match this week against the competition leaders, led by the master Wayne Bennett, a win with their backs against the wall and their season on the line will give the Bulldogs and Coach Des Hasler the confidence and response he is after.
Earlier this year Hasler notched up 300 games as a coach to join current coaches Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bennett to reach the milestone and tonight will coach the Bulldogs for the 100th time, joining previous coaches Steve Folkes, Chris Anderson, Warren Ryan, Ted Glossop and Malcolm Clift as people to have reached the milestone.
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