Ground-Dog Day, just another Dessie smokescreen

Jason Hosken Roar Guru

By Jason Hosken, Jason Hosken is a Roar Guru


29 Have your say

    Apart from the obvious two competition points, what else did Canterbury’s growing list of disgruntled fans take away from Monday’s victory over St George Illawarra?

    The surprise result may appease some, but in reality the display did little to shorten the queue of diehards eager to bash down Des Hasler’s door.

    And just like the frizzled Bill Murray character in Groundhog Day, it’s an all too familiar tune before another day of torment.

    Already twice this season the Bulldogs have been kept scoreless in spineless 30-point floggings only to clean the slate against higher-ranked opponents the following week.

    In each rebound the Bulldogs’ big men laid a platform wide enough to smother the cracks of a disjointed backline.

    Canterbury’s blueprint is no secret but the reason the forwards don’t always get off the bus this year is.

    Not that Hasler was willing to offer an insight last Monday. In an attempt to divert attention he said, “I just think we were a bit tidier in all facets. It seems you (the media) are not really interested in that part of the game, and you’re more interested in all the distractions that go on around it”.

    As far as smokescreens go, it was just another predictable line offered by a coach on the wane desperate to stay on his feet.

    And to date it’s a fool proof ploy, if only it wasn’t to the detriment of the team and club’s inner workings.

    Last season the much maligned Bulldogs attack ranked ninth for points scored. Now they sit second last having only topped 20-points on four occasions, yet off the park the wily coach has defied the odds to wrangle a new two-year contract extension.

    Kieran Foran’s signature saved Hasler from the guillotine but with it came the swift demise of well-respected chief executive Raelene Castle and the departure of Canterbury’s favourite son Josh Reynolds.

    The entire sordid scenario is another example of Hasler’s reliance on past glories and inability to move with the times.

    Des Hasler

    (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

    Despite playing behind a champion pack, Michael Lichaa has been a passenger unable to flourish. Coincidently Michael Ennis once described his move to Cronulla as like breaking the shackles.

    Is Moses Mbye a running back or a crafty dummy-half? No one knows, the Queensland youngster has played in a holding pattern since 2014.

    The poor cohesion and fan frustration is surely weighing on the mind of James Graham and his forward mates and must surely be a factor in the team’s wild performance swings.

    At various stages Hasler has reverted to members of his 2011 premiership side only to find reunification with Tony Williams and Will Hopoate was a far cry from the good old days.

    Now Hasler is an old dog desperate for new tricks. But he refuses help and enters his final saloon riding on Foran’s back. It’s another coin in an old well but this time the prized Kiwi comes with his own baggage.

    For Canterbury fans it’s nervous times and with a host of club favourites already shown the door they’re clearly in no mood for the tunes of Ground-Dog day.

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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • Roar Guru

      June 16th 2017 @ 5:35am
      eagleJack said | June 16th 2017 @ 5:35am | ! Report

      It’s funny JH I’ve well and truly moved on from Hasler being poached only days after our 2011 premiership. Did so in 2012. But I must say a small part of me is enjoying watching this play out.

      Personally I think the Dogs have made a terrible mistake. Getting rid of a favourite son, to put all your eggs into the one basket of a guy with off-field issues and the worst hamstrings in the game, is a recipe for disaster.

      I truly hope it works out for them. I still love Foz. But I can’t say I won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t. As a fan not being able to celebrate a premiership was cruel. And the Bulldogs were central to that.

      • Roar Guru

        June 16th 2017 @ 8:15am
        Jason Hosken said | June 16th 2017 @ 8:15am | ! Report

        Allegiances aside EJ, I find the entire scenario unbelievable. The Dogs all but moved Des out the door but looked to have been bullied into another life line. For the betterment of their own careers and long term value, blokes like Mbye and Lichaa are best off elsewhere.

    • June 16th 2017 @ 6:07am
      bigbaz said | June 16th 2017 @ 6:07am | ! Report

      For me it’s great , Dessie has managed to create two Manlys to dislike intensely.

      • June 16th 2017 @ 12:55pm
        AGordon said | June 16th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        completely agree. Thoroughly enjoyed the Dogs game against Penrith, especially with the cameras panning onto the coaches box and the look on Des’ face.

      • Roar Guru

        June 16th 2017 @ 1:12pm
        Jason Hosken said | June 16th 2017 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

        But out of the two, is the original still your favourite?

    • June 16th 2017 @ 7:14am
      Wild Eagle said | June 16th 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      For some reason Hasler is now a coach who brings the worst out in most players not the best. How many players have been recruited to the dogs in his time their who have taken their game to the next level? Watching them attack over the last couple of years at times has been painful it is has that bad.

      They played Souths in the GF a few years back and the halves ran a total of three times between them. The half back ran once in an 80 minute GF!

      The recent Eagles success with the Stewarts , Foran , Matai , Lyon, DCE etc is looking more what history will show it to be every day, a talented group of players with a massive desire to win. Another case of a coach forming his reputation based on an outstanding roster

      Foran is that good that if he can stay fit , he could make Hasler look like he can coach again. Look at DCE now he has a solid pack to work off , going great guns at the Eagles . But where have the dogs spine been over the last five years with a big dominant pack? Something is badly amiss.

    • Roar Guru

      June 16th 2017 @ 8:14am
      The Barry said | June 16th 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      Very fair article Jase.

      The positives out of Mondays game is that when the effort is there this maligned team can still match it with anyone.

      The problem is I have no confidence that effort will be replicated next week or the week after. It genuinely feels like the next 30-0 pasting could be around the corner.

      That means there’s big problems. It’s just completely un-Bulldogs like. We’re used to honest teams over performing.

      Think the 95 team that finished 6th in the midst of the super league war and laid out the superstar teams of the day in the Raiders, Dragons, Broncos and Manly on the way to the premiership.

      Think 98 when they finished 9th and made it to the GF.

      Most frustrating is Haslers unwillingness to change. Lichaa clearly isn’t working at 9. Mbye is not working at 7. Hopoate at 1. Eastwood is clearly past it. The attacking structure isn’t working. The kicking game isn’t working. The forward ball playing game isn’t working. Where’s plan b or c or any fresh idea?

      The Dogs forwards look infinitely better pushing off the back fence, going forward early and creating space off the back of that. How often do we see it as opposed to Tolman and Kasiano et al standing flat footed and looking to pass?

      What’s the bet if Kasiano goes to Melbourne, Bellamy will simplify his role and turn him into a superstar?

      His first priority should be running hard, scattering defenders and the offloads will come off the back of it instead of jogging to the line looking to pass.

      • Roar Guru

        June 16th 2017 @ 9:50am
        Jason Hosken said | June 16th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Thanks TB – I can feel your frustration.

        Kas has taken over from T-Rex. Surely both were instructed to crash into the opposition, they’re off little value when the don’t.

        Do you reckon Des is over complicating the message, along the lines of Brian Smith?

        • Roar Guru

          June 16th 2017 @ 10:03am
          The Barry said | June 16th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

          I don’t think it’s over complicating the message. The Dogs game plan is simple to the point of being painful.

          Of course I’m on the outside looking in but I think it’s s confusing message rather than a complicated one.

          I also think there’s s lack of accountability within the squad. Poor performances are tolerated again and again. Lee and Holland are the only blokes in recent memory who have been held accountable. Young blokes basically have to wait until someone keels over to get a shot in the side.

          That means there’s no genuine competition for spots. Clubs thrive on that competitive tension.

          How good is Elliott going? How long did he have to wait behind Eastwood? Serving an apprenticeship is one thing. Getting stuck behind deadwood is another.

          The Dogs have some talented forwards in the lower grades. Giving some of these guys a crack every now and then will keep players on their toes.

          The older I get the more I believe a lack of accountability is at the core of standards slipping. Whether it’s at work, in the family, a footy team, training a dog, whatever.

          • Roar Guru

            June 16th 2017 @ 12:07pm
            Jason Hosken said | June 16th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

            I don’t know a lot about the Dogs ressies but I noticed they trounced Illawarra last week.

            Guilty: you should see my dog TB, plays with reckless intent.

            • Roar Guru

              June 16th 2017 @ 4:52pm
              The Barry said | June 16th 2017 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

              I talk a good game…my dogs a scoundrel

          • June 17th 2017 @ 12:14pm
            Wild Eagle said | June 17th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

            You are ignoring all the times coaches like Hasler have been greatly rewarded for sticking by players who the critics have endlessly bagged. Hasler was bagged endlessly for sticking by players like Jason King and even Steve Matai early on.

            Barrett has been bagged endlessly also for sticking by Api K in particular as well as Curtis Sironen and others. Some players have very ordinary patches of form and based on history it is not always the best option to drop them.

            To me it often seems that a coaches loyalty to a below average player performance wise is rewarded greatly at times. Just presenting the other side of the equation.

            Manly has suffered a couple of terrible losses this year but Barrett has dropped hardly anyone from memory , probably because he figured the best players were already in the team and by sticking by them he has helped the confidence of some players who are trying to establish or revive a career. The Dogs are a different equation and maybe a shakeup is needed .

            Frawley at half for the dogs looked like the saviour for a while but now it just looks like another false hope. Where do the dogs go from here? As I said at the time Hasler needed to depart the scene because they are just slowly spiraling down and I think a new coach is essential . Ironically the loyalty shown to Hasler might pay off but I reckon it won’t

    • June 16th 2017 @ 8:24am
      Anna said | June 16th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      “The entire sordid scenario is another example of Hasler’s reliance on past glories and inability to move with the times.” You absolutely nail it Jason. Those that attended the forum the other night left more frustrated and disgruntled than ever. Dib and Hasler treat the fans like the word that Steve Folkes used once “nuffies”

      • Roar Guru

        June 16th 2017 @ 9:08am
        Jason Hosken said | June 16th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

        Hi Anna, did you attend the forum? I’m interested to know the answers given in response to player position selections and player/coach harmony. Although, from what you say I can already hear the wishy-washy corporate overtones.

        • June 16th 2017 @ 10:03am
          Anna said | June 16th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

          Yes . Don’t think the coach appreciated when a fan brought up about Lichaa and Ennis comments re shackles . His response to a question on Klemmer playing at lock rather than front row was quite bizzaare too. Expect more short drop outs. Tolman and Castle where all class at the forum, but Dib and Hasler didn’t exactly do themselves any favours .

          • Roar Guru

            June 16th 2017 @ 3:36pm
            Jason Hosken said | June 16th 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

            Sounds intense. At least they fronted, can’t be much fun facing angry members and most clubs don’t do it.

    • June 16th 2017 @ 9:29am
      kk said | June 16th 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      Hi Jason,

      Des is a decent and conscientious person. It would be impossible to dislike Des Hasler.
      But, his time at Belmore was over.

      Whoever is responsible for extending his contract until end of 2019 season should be
      made to walk the plank. It would have been prudent to have waited until July 2017.
      Would he be re- signed then? I doubt it.

      Foran is a great player but he is injury prone. Another $1.2M X ? for what?

      Since taking leave from Canterbury after enduring a six moth guilt trip, I have never
      enjoyed Rugby League this much. I care not what colours they wear, the game is

      • Roar Guru

        June 16th 2017 @ 9:45am
        Jason Hosken said | June 16th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        Gday Max. I like Des too, his contribution to the game over more than 30 years is immense. From all reports his video analysis is second to none but for whatever reason he’s not tinkering with the obvious. It’s no fun questioning a guy of his calibre but like everyone else, it would be nice to understand his reasons for overlooking what appears to be fundamental.