5 Oct 2014

Tough task for Hasler's under-doggies

1:17 pm on 5 October 2014

If Canterbury pull off the seemingly impossible and win Sunday's NRL grand final then Des Hasler will join the ranks of coaching royalty.

Des Hasler

Des Hasler Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Bulldogs looked dead and buried after a slump in form towards the back end of the season as they fell from top of the table to seventh after just two wins from their last eight games.

No team has won a grand final from outside of the top-four since the Bulldogs outfit that finished fifth in 1995.

The Bulldogs go into the game $3.00 underdogs - the biggest price for a grand final team since the 2000 Roosters that were beaten by Brisbane.

Smart, paranoid, deeply religious, quirky, funny, caring, passionate, charismatic, parsimonious and intensely private have all be used to describe the 53-year-old Hasler over the years.

Legend has it the former representative halfback used to deny his own existence to bemused pupils when teaching at a Catholic primary school in the early 90s, claiming he was in fact his non-existent twin brother.

It is one of many cracking yarns about Hasler who, according to one of his former players, has an avid phobia of road tolls.

But his ability to coach is certainly no joke, as he saddles up for a fifth grand final appearance in eight years.

He also imbues a loyalty from his players that stems from a knowledge he will do anything for them on and off the field.