Axed ... Des Hasler's time at the Bulldogs is up.
Axed ... Des Hasler's time at the Bulldogs is up.

Change at the Bulldogs was 'absolutely necessary'

JUST months after signing a two-year $2 million extension, Des Hasler was informed by the Bulldogs board on Tuesday that his services were no longer required.

He will be given a payout but nowhere near the value of his contract.

Canterbury finished 11th on the ladder and won only 10 games this year.

It is the first time Hasler failed to make the finals in his time at the Bulldogs.

South Sydney's Michael Maguire and Canberra's assistant coach Dean Pay are the frontrunners for the job.

"Today, I informed Des Hasler and his management of our decision to pursue a new Head Coach for our Club, effective immediately." said Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib,

"These types of conversations are never easy, especially when they involve people we respect personally and professionally, however, the Club believes the decision to change our football leadership was absolutely necessary.


**FILE** A Saturday, August 26, 2017 image reissued Tuesday, September 19, 2017 of Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs NRL coach Des Hasler during a press conference following the round 25 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Cbus Stadium on the Gold Coast. Canterbury have sacked coach Des Hasler from the NRL club. Hasler signed a two-year contract extension with the club in April, but failed to take the team to the finals for the first time since his arrival in 2012. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING
Des Hasler during a press conference DAVE HUNT

"The Club will now begin its search for a new Head Coach and will provide further information once that process has been completed."

There had been intense speculation over Hasler's future all season and the 56-year old remained under pressure despite re-signing with the club in April.

Several club legends, including Steve Mortimer and Terry Lamb, were highly critical of Hasler's inability to understand the culture of the blue and whites.

Premiership players Willie Mason and Reni Maitua also condemned Hasler's approach, claiming the club had lost the aura it had in the past.

"When I went back in 2014, it was like I'd never played there before," Maitua said on Unfiltered.

"Des is a Manly person with a Bulldogs shirt on. I don't think they wanted to have any sort of history with the club.

"That is his vehicle to be successful as a coach to be at Canterbury but he will always be Manly. If you take him into a room and held him at gunpoint and said, 'Who do you go for?' he is going to say, 'I'm a Manly person.'"

Fans had also lost patience with Hasler - the Bulldogs' inability to score points and Hasler's continued positional switches, especially in regards to his team's spine, hamstrung their premiership hopes.

The case of Michael Lichaa, who looked like a new man in the final few weeks of the regular season once he threw off the shackles of Hasler's conservative game plan, typifies Hasler's struggles.

The club has undergone a serious revamp for 2018 with skipper James Graham and cult hero Josh Reynolds both agreeing to leave, Graham for the Dragons and Reynolds for the Tigers.

Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods have both agreed to join the club on lucrative deals for next season with the Bulldogs reportedly still needing to shed players to fit under the salary cap.