It’s no secret that this year has been a fairly disastrous one for the Bulldogs, their attacking struggles have been the lowlight of coach Des Hasler’s tenure.
Statistically the Dogs are the worst in the competition, averaging less than 14 points per outing through 19 games. To be blunt, that is abysmal.
While you might be able to put a couple of outlier games down to player performance, when you see consistency like this it’s quite obviously a coaching issue; the Bulldogs have had no direction in attack since before the start of the season and at no point have they looked like changing anything.
Don’t get me wrong, they can be very good in patches, for maybe 15-20 minutes a game they look like an actual rugby league outfit. The rest of the time however, you would honestly be better off sending out headless chooks, it’s amazing that Hasler does nothing to rectify the mess we see on a week-to-week basis.
Hasler has been able to attract new star recruit Kieran Foran to the club for next year along with NSW front rower Aaron Woods, the question is: can these two lead the club in the right direction?
The acquisition of Foran, and Moses Mbye’s recent application as a dummy half suggests that he could find himself a permanent home there next season with Foran partnering rookie Matt Frawley in the halves. Mbye has been a breath of fresh air in attack, but like the rest of the team just cannot keep it up for 80 minutes.
Bringing Woods over from the joint venture suggests that one of Aiden Tolman and James Graham will be dropped to a bench role next season. The plethora of quality front rowers at Des’ disposal is a welcome headache but you have to wonder if that is the position that Canterbury really need to be strengthening right now.
The blue and whites missed out on the signature of Woods’ teammate James Tedesco earlier this season with the NSW fullback backing out last second from a tabled deal with the club in order to sign with the Roosters, and I think it’s no secret which player the Bulldogs faithful believe they need more.
Will Hopoate is solid, but when you miss out on a true x-factor player like Teddy it’s really a chance gone begging.
All these recruiting decisions just further point towards Hasler keeping his job and trying again next year with a couple of new weapons. I can’t see there being much of a difference in the way things go next year for the Dogs, Foran has struggled to find the form he had at Parramatta last year and Woods is another front rower who’s hardly going to be the focal point of your attack.
Do I think Des Hasler should keep his job? No.
Do I think he will keep his job? Yes.
The board invested too heavily in him earlier in the season to justify paying him out more than $1 million to get rid of him, at least for now. If Kieran Foran comes in and the struggles at Canterbury continue, I can’t see Des surviving much longer. I think he keeps his job for now, but he better pray Foran is the second coming of JT next year.