Bennett defends under-fire Hasler
Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett says the criticism of Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs coach Des Hasler is an overreaction this early into the 2017 season.
Hasler is under immense pressure after his side was thrashed 36-0 by the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in Round 4.
It has left Canterbury sitting in 13th position on the NRL ladder with just one win, and to make things worse the Bulldogs officially have the worst attack in the competition with just 54 points scored in four games.
Despite these facts, Bennett told media on Wednesday that it's too early to judge Hasler after just a month of football.
"You'd like to think they'd be given more than three or four rounds to prove themselves," Bennett said.
"The Wests Tigers knew what Jason Taylor brought, the Bulldogs know what Des Hasler brings and the Broncos know what I bring long before the season starts.
"The rest is just an overreaction sometimes."
But for Taylor it is too little too late, with the former Tigers coach sacked after just three rounds.
The same fate may follow Hasler if his side fails to defeat the Broncos at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night, but Bennett hopes his fellow coach is given more time.
Having gone through his fair share of ups and downs, Bennett said what Hasler is going through is something he has experienced many times during his 30+ years of top grade coaching.
"At the end of the day, the buck always stops with the coach," he said.
"We are in a highly competitive business. Eight teams lose every week and that's just the nature of the game.
"Des has been a long-standing coach and he has a great reputation in the game.
"He's just going through a tough patch and that's something we all go through."
The Broncos players will be hoping Hasler's tough patch continues as they try to make it two wins in a row and cement their position in the top eight.
A win could see Brisbane finish the round in the top four, but Bennett said his side didn't expect the two points to come easily despite a comfortable 20-10 win against the Bulldogs in Round 24 last year.
"We won't be complacent heading into this one. It's a different season with different players since the last time we beat them," the coach said.
"They'll be tough. They'll want to play well and I'm sure they will do their best.
"They have a big forward pack that is hard to stop if they start rolling down the field. That's what happened when we played them at ANZ Stadium last year."
That match at ANZ Stadium occurred in Round 16 of the 2016 season, with Canterbury cruising to a huge 40-14 victory.
The Bulldogs will need to improve greatly on their Round 4 showing if the scoreline is to reach anything near that blowout.