Win eases pressure on Dogs players and coach
THIS was Des's night.
A shock win over premiership heavyweights Brisbane and a looming new two-year contract extension. The wily old fox has done it again.
Canterbury is back in business after an upset 10-7 victory over the Broncos at a soggy ANZ Stadium.
It was Canterbury's second win this year and relieves enormous pressure from the Canterbury players and coach Des Hasler.
The Dogs are famous for firing back when cornered and angry - and it was there for all to see again on Thursday night.
Doggies players celebrated hard at full-time. And why not? This is a proud football club.
Hasler was under serious pressure during the match.
"We had a win - that's the main thing," Hasler said.
"It was pretty tough out there. I thought we were pretty enterprising in attack.
"We didn't have a good day last week but we reassessed during the week and got back out there and won the game."
Victory was an extraordinary turnaround for a side that was embarrassed 36-0 by Manly last week.
And Hasler looks ready to sign a new deal that will keep him at Belmore until the end of 2019.
After a three-hour Bulldogs board meeting at ANZ Stadium before Thursday night's match, Canterbury CEO Raelene Castle emerged to say: "We continue to have positive conversations.
"We've got a position now we'll present to Des's management and we're hopeful that will result in a favourable outcome. I'd be very surprised if we don't have a decision within the next month.
"There are still some hoops to jump through to make sure everything is sorted. But it continues to look very positive.
"I'm not happy to discuss the confidential nature of that agreement with Des."
Asked were the "hoops" results-based, Castle said: "No they are not results-related. It's a decision for two years, so it's important we get it right and make sure both parties are happy.
"It's of huge important to the Bulldogs, so if it takes us an extra week to get it done, we'll take that extra week."
The Bulldogs forwards stood up against the Broncos after a week of heavy criticism.
James Graham ran for 144m, while David Klemmer (242m), Josh Jackson (127m), Sam Kasiano (167m) and Aiden Tolman (131m) were all powerful. It was a thoroughly deserved and important win.
It was a tough game in the wet conditions.
"Whatever you guys were writing, people in the media were saying, you try and block it out," Graham said. "Trust me, no one was more disappointed than us.
"Tonight was better but sport is a funny thing. Despite what happened last week, we are still fighting for this title."