The Roar
The Roar


Ground-Dog Day, just another Dessie smokescreen

Des may have secured his future, but is he the right man to lead the Dogs? (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
Roar Guru
15th June, 2017

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.