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14 Dec 2017 21:22
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Des Hasler defends his NRL Bulldogs

    Despite season 2017 being one to forget at Belmore, Canterbury coach Des Hasler says he is "super pleased" with the defensive resolve of his side.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Des Hasler has hailed the defensive grit of Canterbury despite everyone at Belmore being under a mountain of pressure following a forgettable NRL season.

    With your club at 7-13 and set to miss the NRL finals for the first time in six years, "super pleased" is a curious way to summarise your team's effort.

    However the Bulldogs coach is sticking solid behind his charges.

    "We haven't executed as well as we could," Hasler said when asked what has gone wrong this year.

    "I don't think we've managed possession well. But that' doesn't undermine the effort that the players have been displaying.

    "I'm super pleased with the effort that they're working at, particularly in defence.

    "That's reflected in their numbers. But at the end of the day we have to be realists and it's results-driven."

    The Bulldogs have conceded 377 points this year, the eighth-best defensive record in the league and putting them equal with above the likes of Penrith and Manly who are finals bound.

    However their attacking woes are there for all to see.

    They are yet to score over 24 points in a game this season and according to Fox Sports Stat the last time they failed to do this was in 1978.

    They have scored 264 points this year and are on track to rack up less than Hazem El Masri did on his own during his record breaking season in 2014, when he scored 342 points.

    Reportedly under salary cap pressure to offload players to accommodate the impending arrivals of Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods, there are some in the Belmore locker room fighting for their futures.

    Likewise Hasler is under the pump to keep his job despite the fact his new two-year contract hasn't even kicked in yet.

    Souths will again field teenage winger Campell Graham after handing him his debut last week while Aaron Gray returned from an Achilles injury on the opposite flank after a month out.

    Chase Stanley will again start at halfback for the Dogs.

    STATS THAT MATTER

    * Since losing the 2014 grand final, the Bulldogs have won three out of the past five against the Rabbitohs.

    * Michael Maguire will coach his 150th game in the NRL on Thursday.

    Source: Fox Sports Stats

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity


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