Des Hasler

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Des Hasler (born 16 February 1961 in Gosford, New South Wales) is an Australian former professional rugby league player and current head coach of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. He played in 309 matches in a first-grade career spanning 16 seasons. Most of his career was spent with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, with whom he won two premierships (1987 and 1996) before finishing his playing career with the Western Suburbs Magpies. Hasler later coached Manly from 2004 to 2011, winning a further two premierships (2008 and 2011). As a player he also represented Australia internationally and New South Wales in State of Origin.

Biography

Des Hasler was educated at St Dominic's College, Penrith and he trained as a primary school teacher at the Australian Catholic University. In 1981 he taught Year 1 at St Thomas Aquinas Primary School in Springwood. He also taught Year 6 students and Electronics at St Pius X College, Chatswood.

Playing career

Des Hasler began his first grade career with the Penrith Panthers in 1982, but quickly transferred to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles where he played a total of 255 games and scored 72 tries, finishing his first grade career with a season at Western Suburbs Magpies. He started playing in the half-back position for Manly, supplanting the talented but undependable Phil Blake as starting halfback during the 1987 NSWRL season and they won the premiership that year. Following the grand final victory he travelled with Manly to England for the 1987 World Club Challenge against their champions, Wigan.

Later, Hasler made way for Geoff Toovey at halfback, and played in a variety of roles, at lock, hooker, and in the backs. At the end of the 1990 NSWRL season, he went on the 1990 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France. Hasler's value as a star utility player led to his frequent selection—albeit on the bench—in representative football. Hasler played 13 State of Origin matches for New South Wales, scoring 2 tries during these games. His biography, The Utility Player was written by prominent Australian author and Manly-Warringah fan Thomas Keneally and published in 1993.[1]

Hasler also played for Australia in twelve test matches. At the end of the 1993 season Hasler decided to play for Hull in the English Rugby League Premiership. He later returned to the Sea Eagles for the 1995 and 1996 seasons. In both of these years, the Manly Sea Eagles made the grand final, and in 1996 won the premiership.

Coaching career

Manly

In 2004, Des Hasler was appointed head coach of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. In the 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons he led the team to the semi-finals for the first time since the late 1990s. Hasler gained the experience of Geoff Toovey as assistant coach in the 2007 season. The team was a contender in the 2007 National Rugby League premiership, and finished second on the NRL ladder, losing the grand final 34–8 Melbourne Storm.

He coached Manly to a record breaking 40–0 2008 NRL Grand Final victory over the Melbourne Storm.[2]

In 2008 he was named the Rugby League International Federation's Coach of the Year at the RLIF Awards.[3]

After failing to win the 1987 World Club Challenge with Manly as a player, he won it with them as coach in 2009.

He took Manly to the finals again in 2009 and 2010, but lost a final in each year to be eliminated from the finals.

He coached his 200th First Grade game on 13 August 2011 when Manly defeated their traditional rivals Parramatta 26–20 at Parramatta Stadium. The win was also Hasler's 117th win as a coach.

In 2011 Manly finished 2nd on the NRL ladder. Manly defeated the Cowboys 42–8 at the SFS for their first finals win since 2008. Manly went on to win the 2011 NRL Grand Final. He was named coach of the year at the RLIF Awards.[4]


Canterbury

Hasler joined the Bulldogs on 14 November 2011 as head coach for the 2012 NRL season.[5] He took the club to the top of the ladder and collected the minor premiership. However, the Bulldogs were beaten in the Grand Final by the Melbourne Storm 14–4.[6] At the 2012 Dally M Awards Hasler was named the NRL's coach of the year.[7]

References