Des Hasler to leave the Bulldogs

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Re: Des Hasler to leave the Bulldogs

Post by LARDS » Thu 21 Sep, 2017 12:45 pm

The inside story of how the Bulldogs lost their way - and Des Hasler was sacked

Andrew Webster

Des Hasler thought he'd secured his future in a secret meeting at the Pullman Hotel at Sydney Olympic Park on April 3 earlier this year.

Well, as secure as anything in rugby league can be in these confusing and mysterious times.

A look at some of the numbers behind Des Hasler's sacking as coach of NRL club Canterbury.
Sitting around the table were Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib, chief executive Raelene Castle and Hasler's manager, George Mimis. The meeting went for hours and hours, every last clause and detail nutted out.

And then, when it was all over, the much-talked about "heads of agreement" was signed. It wasn't inked in blood, but it was a done deal. The Bulldogs announced it. They've been telling us all for months how Hasler has "two more years on his contract".

It was hoped this would end the annoying speculation about the coach's future and assure players and their managers there was stability at Belmore.

More than that, it would take some heat off Dib.

The day before, in his column for the Sun-Herald, colleague Danny Weidler had savaged the chairman. He wrote the Bulldogs had been a "rabble for weeks" and speculation about Hasler's future was damaging the Bulldogs' brand. Weidler's missive rattled a few cages.

Cut to another meeting on Tuesday morning and Hasler and Mimis were sitting across from Dib again.

It had been 10 days since the club's end-of-season presentation, the review into the team's dreadful season completed. Time for Hasler to find out if he's still got a job.

Des is a Jedi Warrior of statistics and Dib had a stack to throw at him: no top-four finish in five years; a win-loss percentage of 56.8 per cent in the past six years; 52 per cent in the past three; 41.7 per cent this year … And on it went.

Then came the rip to the body Hasler and Mimis didn't see coming. Not only was he sacked, he wasn't getting a pay out because the "heads of agreement" was "non-binding".

There have been suggestions Hasler blew a gasket at this point, much like he does when he's sitting in the coach's box, rips off his headset and hurls it in anger. This isn't so. He took it in his stride.

The Bulldogs were facing – or still are, depending on who you talk to – a pay out of about $1 million if they sacked Hasler before next February's annual general meeting. The reported figure of $600,000 is not correct.

Their decision to not pay him a cent might seem like a two-finger salute to their coach but let's call it for what it is: a ploy to settle with Hasler for less than seven figures. A "heads of agreement" is an agreement; a precursor to a long-form contract.

But there is something more at stake here than just dollars. The club's reputation has been battered.

Des had to go. For the past two years his team has been playing like they don't know each other. But he shouldn't have to go like this.

It might be the right decision but it's another messy chapter for a club that has no coach, no chief executive until December, no captain after James Graham signed with the Dragons, no favourite son after Josh Reynolds signed with the Tigers.

It also must move another player to accommodate big-name recruits Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran under the salary cap.

Woods is an international but how much influence can he have? Foran's body can't stand up for 80 minutes. He doesn't have a "Des clause" but he was coming because of Des, a father figure.

Meanwhile, many continue to pick at the Bulldogs carcass, wondering where it all went wrong?

Some say the players' heads went down when Reynolds signed with the Tigers.

Some say Hasler only has himself to blame. He won the 2011 premiership at Manly and within a week then-Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg enticed him to switch clubs.

I remember that first media conference with Hasler decked out in a Bulldogs polo shirt, ready for a new challenge. Greenberg had promised a bottomless pit of money for football expenditure.

Hasler's critics say he was given everything he wanted and look where it's left them? He was unwilling to bend and change the constipated style of footy they were playing; it will take years to unravel the mess.

Some say the coach never had a chance with the axe dangling over his head for so long. A deal could've been done in June last year. Then October. Then two more times after that.

The speculation about Hasler kept cranking up with every poor performance. Without any better alternative available, Hasler inexplicably had his contract extended for another two years.

Some say Dib has far too much power. That he's a self-styled benevolent dictator, much like Roosters boss Nick Politis, with whom he is close.

​The comparison is a bridge slightly too far.

Dib's board members speak their mind and the chairman listens, but the decision is ultimately his. Earlier this year, long-time director Anthony Elias stepped down after 15 years and was known in that time to always be his own man.

Outsiders are overplaying the importance of next February's board elections. Sure, they'll be ugly but Dib is already tipped to stay on.

He's told others he's prepared to go if that's what the members want but he wants to stay because the club has found itself in this position on his watch and now he wants to get them out.

The candidates of any rival ticket are yet to reveal themselves but already many at Belmore assure you Dib is safe. There are only about 900 to 1000 eligible voting members and Dib has the support of many of them.

Of greater concern right now is who they usher in to replace Hasler. Dib is compiling a list of candidates and will present them to the board next week.

Names are being tossed about like confetti at a wedding.

Former Souths coach Michael Maguire has been suggested but is considered no chance. He can spend truckloads of money on his footy department as well as Hasler.

Assistant coach and former Bulldogs player Jim Dymock publicly declared before the final match of the season that he wants the job if Hasler is sacked.

The players certainly want him. He will be interviewed but is also considered at long odds because he's been there 10 years and has been pigeonholed as "just an assistant coach".

The forgotten man is Todd Payten, the Cowboys assistant to Paul Green and successful Wests Tigers under-20s coach. He is managed by Isaac Moses, who is very close to Dib.

The man who seems to be the perfect fit is Dean Pay, one of the Bulldogs' hardest players in his day who has been working through the ranks and is now under Ricky Stuart at Canberra.

This will surprise many but Dib has never met the man. Never. He's never met him out of respect for Hasler.

Some aren't convinced Pay is the answer. Others say throw him in there because Canterbury needs a Canterbury person.

Because what's happened at Canterbury this year has been very un-Canterbury. They look like a rabble from the outside, and many are saying it on the inside, too.

At the club's season launch earlier this year, Dib addressed the room and made a bold declaration.

"Everyone is on notice," he said. "Everyone's jobs are on the line, including mine."

As it stands, there aren't many left to sack.
Well , there's your problem right there. :roll

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