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Hasler urges fans to stick with Bulldogs

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/06/2017 Steve Zemek

If St George Illawarra can do it, there's no reason we can't.

That's the message from under-pressure Canterbury coach Des Hasler heading into his side's crunch NRL clash with the Red V at ANZ Stadium on Monday.

The Bulldogs' fan base is in uproar in the wake of last week's thumping by Penrith and Hasler's failure to appear at a post-game members' forum.

However Hasler insists there is light at the end of the tunnel and delivered a plea to the club's disgruntled ticket holders to stick solid, promising a turnaround was not far off and they were capable of a top-eight finish.

He pointed to the fickle nature of rugby league and the fact the Dragons and their coach Paul McGregor came into the year under intense scrutiny and playing for their futures.

After 13 rounds the Dragons are in the top four while McGregor was last week rewarded with a two-year contract extension.

"St George, they're playing great football," Hasler said.

"This Canterbury team knows what they're capable of. We know we're capable of finals football.

"We just have to get out there now and get it done."

Hasler explained his no-show at the post-game fan forum by saying he got stuck at ANZ Stadium attending to reports and other commitments.

He will this week appear a function to address fans and said he treated those commitments with the utmost seriousness.

Hasler was loathed to make excuses but said their inability to get the same 17 on the park week-in week-out had affected their execution and discipline during their run of four losses.

The Bulldogs will receive a big boost this week with five-eighth Josh Reynolds, skipper James Graham and centre Josh Morris to return after missing last week's loss to Penrith.

NSW lock Tyson Frizell is a certain starter for the Dragons despite suffering a rib injury last week and is attempting to prove his fitness for Origin II.

Hasler said Dragons forwards Paul Vaughan and Jack de Belin would be viewing the match as an audition for future NSW jumpers as they come up against Blues incumbents Josh Jackson and David Klemmer.

"Their motivation is just as high as our motivation," Hasler said.

"They're a good football side and they've been playing some tough football on the back of a very high completion rate."

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Bulldogs have won the past four matches and nine of the past 10 matches against the Dragons.

* The Dogs are scoring the equal least points (13.7 per game), the second least tries (2.5 per game) and making the least linebreaks (3.2 per game).

Source: Fox Sports Stats

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