The Mad Scientist sets poor example
THE wider rugby league community could be excused for thinking Des Hasler is either a smart alec, a non-conformist or just plain dumb.
But whichever caps fits, the Bulldogs coach has once again felt the wrath of the NRL, and his attempt at humour has received precisely what it deserves.
His latest anti-authority outburst has cost him $20,000.
Although descriptions one and two in the opening sentence are more likely the most apt portrayals of Hasler, the last is certainly not applicable.
He is not dumb - far from it, in fact.
Hasler is listed on the Australian Catholic University website as one of their star 12 alumni.
But his 'Mad Scientist' nickname is not correlated to his academic qualifications. It is a reflection of his ability to think outside the NRL coaching square.
Hasler was at the helm at Manly when the club first employed now-disgraced sports scientist Steven Dank, and he reportedly injected his players with calf's blood and tracked them on his mobile phone GPS long before other clubs started the now-standard practice.
And speaking at the Bulldogs launch this year, Hasler turned heads when he urged his players to look to inspirational Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi for motivation.
Relaying a famous Gandhi quote about thoughts, words, behaviour, habits, destiny and values, five times Hasler used the word positive.
It was, apparently, a riveting address.
But how can his players take him seriously when he flagrantly flies in the face of authority? Why should they respect the very same referees he ridicules with such contempt?
With his incessant negativity towards officialdom, is it any wonder captain James Graham and young gun David Klemmer acted like out-of-control lunatics during that ugly Good Friday clash against the Rabbitohs?
And with the example he sets for fans, was it a surprise to anyone that some Bulldogs supporters that night behaved like thugs?
Sure, Hasler can be entertaining in his press conferences, but he isn't funny.
He can also be cutting, and he can be extremely condescending.
And there is little doubt that what he says - as was the case last weekend - is carefully planned and has a hidden agenda.
But the bottom line is that he deliberately flouts the rules as laid down by the NRL - rules that govern coaches commenting on referees. He is consciously negative about a game which pays him so well, and he continually damages the image of rugby league.
And that begs two questions - how can he expect his players to be disciplined when he shows scant respect for authority?
And if he believes the game is so poorly run, why doesn't he surrender his $1 million plus salary and try to do a better job?