Canterbury players have declared their faith in Des Hasler to lead the Bulldogs out of their early-season funk as pressure mounts on the coach to keep his job at Belmore.
Last week’s 36-0 defeat to Manly – their second biggest loss under Hasler – has left the Bulldogs near the bottom of the NRL ladder with one win over the opening month.
The result forced Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib to defend Hasler’s position at the club, however that stance may change when the board meets on Thursday.
Veteran prop Aiden Tolman denied Hasler’s game plan needed urgent change in light of a reported deadline – believed to be by round 10 – to retain the clipboard.
“I don’t think he needs to change. Obviously we need to improve a few things from last week. I suppose that’s where you’ll see the change,” Tolman said on Tuesday.
“But in terms of our footy structures, I don’t think that really needs to change too much.”
Tolman rejected claims the players had no more belief in their coach.
“That’s the question that’s always going to be asked, but at the end of the day it was our performance on the weekend that cost us the game. Des wasn’t out there,” he said.
However Tolman did admit feeling the growing pressure to deliver victories after being held scoreless for just the second time in the Hasler era.
Their combined 54 points over the opening four weeks is also the lowest in the league.
“Since I’ve been here, even though we’ve been in every finals series in the past five years and two grand finals, there’s always been pressure,” he said.
“At the moment we’re (1-3) and we’re not going to great, so that pressure builds a bit. But we’ve got full support here from Des and moving forward that’s the way it’s going to continue.”
Lock Greg Eastwood said Hasler’s successful coaching career, which includes two premierships at Manly, proved that he knows how to get their season back on track.
The Bulldogs lost five of their first six games in 2013 before storming back to make the finals.
“Des has our full support at the moment,” he said.
“The board and CEO decide (on his job). For now, Des has our full support and we’re right behind him. We’ve been to six finals in the last six years he’s been here. He’s got the right formula.”