Meticulous Des failed to shore up his own job
IN the middle of last year, when wild weather and king tides hit Sydney's northern beaches and threatened beachside homes, Des Hasler was one step ahead of the rest.
Before buying his luxury home that stood virtually on the sand at Collaroy Beach, Hasler meticulously carried out due diligence. His research revealed two major storms had hit the area in the past 50 years and there was potential for this property to be wiped away if another struck.
Known in NRL circles as the mad scientist because of his innovative dietary ideas and high-tech coaching methods, Hasler's research revealed the retaining wall protecting his property was not high enough. He increased the height and, as fate would have it, the high water in June last year came within centimetres of flooding his property.
That degree of painstaking research is indicative of how Hasler has operated since his coaching career started at the Sea Eagles in 2004. As a result Hasler-coached teams - at Manly and the Bulldogs - have missed the finals just twice in 14 years.
Yet while Hasler worked diligently in preparing his teams for matches and his home for the floods, he apparently overlooked signing a new contract with the Bulldogs in April this year.
I don't have an ounce of legal nous in me but the heads-of-agreement signed by Hasler for a two-year extension is supposedly non-binding. No doubt the legalities will now be contested in court.
Irrespective, the bottom line is that Hasler will not be at the Bulldogs next season, and that is hardly a surprise. Despite finishing season 2017 with three wins on the trot - and ironically paving the way for the giant-killing Cowboys to play finals - the Dogs were horrible this past year.
They finished 11th on the table, which flattered them. Scoring a pathetic 360 points all season - just 15 a game - they were behind even the Knights, who finished with the wooden spoon.
All season critics - particularly ex-Bulldogs players - called for a change. Former captains Steve Mortimer and Terry Lamb claimed Hasler did not "get" the Bulldogs culture. Yet the powers that be offered him a two-year extension, which forced Mortimer to resign from the board.
But the mess did not stop there. Anticipating the salary cap for 2018 would be $10 million, Hasler signed Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods, then discovered the cap would actually be $9.4 million.
The Dogs were then forced to cut players. Favourite sons James Graham and Josh Reynolds have moved on, while many others - including the Morris twins - are being shopped around. Add to that the fact CEO Raelene Castle has resigned and the state of the Belmore kennel is very untidy.
Understandably, fans are irate at the manner in which Hasler has been strung along by the Bulldogs board. Like him or not, to be offered a two-year extension and then have the rug pulled out over a legal technicality is just not cricket.
But that the fastidious Hasler didn't secure his job as well as he safeguarded his house on millionaires' row is the simply unfathomable.