There are eight rounds remaining in the shortened 2020 NRL season and the race for finals places will continue in earnest this weekend.
Rumours are rife of Bulldogs coach Des Hasler being ousted from the club, which goes to show that players aren’t the only ones that can go stale at one club.
Hasler has been at Canterbury for five years now. Seems a bit odd when you think about it, right? He’s lead the team to the finals in each of those years and has reached two grand finals, unfortunately losing both.
The man has talent, and we know it. The problem is though, his style of game hasn’t changed.
‘Front Rower Footy’ was revolutionary back in 2012, but now, just like Des’ tenure at Canterbury, has become stale.
Turning forwards like James Graham and Sam Kasiano into ball players threw oppositions off and got them into the 2012 decider.
In the last few years however, the structures of the Bulldogs have become predictable. Effective to a point but ineffective when it matters.
Another example is Michael Maguire at the Rabbitohs. I love the man but it feels like he hasn’t yet found another option from the power game the team used to win their 2014 triumph.
With a big pack of mobile forwards it works brilliantly, but the squad has changed significantly since then, and so have the rules, most notably the ruck rules and interchange limit. Since their premiership victory, the Rabbitohs have finished seventh and 12th respectively.
Again, Trent Robinson at the Roosters has been highly scrutinised by his armchair critics for not employing more creative approaches to the team since he was hired in 2013. I know his critics aren’t experts, but hey they watch the Roosters play each week, so surely they notice a few things here and there.
You could argue that the likes of Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bennett have yet to be found out. I say they are the true outliers and geniuses.
Most of the current NRL coaching crop have only been around at their current club for about five years, Bennett included.
Perhaps it’s the best time for Hasler to move onto another club where he can not only reinvent the squad and style of play, but also his tactics as well. Things at Canterbury don’t look like changing anytime soon, however if there’s one person that can do it, it’s Hasler.
With the rapid growth of the game, perhaps it’s a time where not only players continually go on the move to different clubs more regularly, but coaches too.