WIZ: The secret to Dessie’s success
Bulldogs NRL coach Des Hasler. AAP Image/Dean Lewins
We’re in for a wonderful game of football tonight when Hasler’s Bulldogs come up against Toovey’s Sea Eagles. If it was played at a ‘proper stadium’ at Manly, they would pack the ground out.
Such is the interest that has been generated around the Hasler vs Toovey, Hasler vs Manly, Hasler vs the Manly Board battles – all of which may or may not be real.
Regardless, this match pits two of the NRL’s most in-form and physical sides in what could well come down to a war of attrition – albiet an entertaining one.
I played against Des and I can tell you that many of the qualities he displays as a coach were already on show in the competitive halfback who always caused us trouble.
On the field, Des never left an inch untruned. If something went wrong, it didn’t matter what stage of the game it was at, Hasler tried to make something happen to turn things around.
It’s no surprise then that both sides that he has coached first grade at – the Bulldogs and the Sea Eagles – represent precisely what Hasler is all about: the players work right to the end, and they work for each other, as a team.
And Des has a knack for being able to bring the best of talented, but misdirected, players.
Michael Ennis is a good example.
Look at all the things that went wrong for Ennis last year. This year, by contrast, he has lead by example and stayed out of trouble.
Krisnan Inu is another.
He came from the Warriors, where he was largely unwanted. Des sat him down and said “these are the rules, follow them and you’ll be fine.” And Inu has thrived under his strict tutelage.
Hasler has had to make some tough decisions already in his short time at the Bulldogs, with injuries hitting the club hard. But by bringing in the likes of Inu and Sam Perett, he has created a team environment where most players are always competing for their spot.
And that makes for a strong team.
Whatever really happened at Manly last year, we may never know. But to his credit, Hasler never went to the papers to complain. He kept it all in-house.
I admire people that do that. These sorts of things don’t need to be played out in the media.
And neither, I might add, did Sam Kasiano’s ‘high shot’ need to be played out in front of the judiciary.
Yes, he did hit Moi Moi high. But Fui Fui fell into the tackle. To have a Grade 2 charge thrown at him and then for him to get off, as he should have, it was a disgrace.
The guys on the match review committee need to take a long look in mirror. How could Kasiano pull out of that tackle? He’s around 6 ft 4 and 120 kgs.
It was an absolute joke that he was even cited.
Gary 'Wiz' Freeman is one of the great halfbacks in New Zealand rugby league history. Now an outspoken and popular media personality, he joined The Roar in 2012 as an expert rugby league columnist, and continues in 2013.