Former Bulldogs great Hazem El Masri has paid tribute to coach Des Hasler for bringing discipline and consistency to a Canterbury team he believes can reclaim the NRL premiership next weekend.
El Masri, who helped the Bulldogs to the 2004 premiership and remains the NRL’s highest ever scorer with 2418 points, said Hasler had brought the best out of a talented team.
“It’s not that he has done it for one or two or three games,” he told AAP.
“He has done it for 26 or 27 rounds now. He has done a wonderful job.”
“He has brought a lot of discipline into the team. Those boys had the talent. You see that a lot of times when players go to different teams and they become superstars. A change of environment, a change of attitude just carries on.”
El Masri said it would be a “wonderful achievement” if Hasler, who won the 2011 title with Manly, became the first coach ever to take different clubs to successive premierships.
But he warned the Bulldogs would have to be on top of their game to defeat Melbourne Storm in the grand final.
“Melbourne are not going to be easy,” he said.
“They’re a well drilled team and they’ve got too many superstars, so obviously the boys are going to have to be at their best.
“The whole area here is buzzing. They’ve worked really hard, and finished on top of the table. They’ve been very consistent which is something we haven’t had for a long time.
“Hopefully they can keep that up and bring the trophy back to the area.”
El Masri, a rugby league ambassador, was speaking on Sunday at the Sydney premier of Fordson, a US documentary about sport’s ability ot break down social barriers.