NRL: Des Hasler to stay with Bulldogs, Steve Mortimer resigns from board

Bulldogs Head Coach Des Hasler. Photo / Photosport
Bulldogs Head Coach Des Hasler. Photo / Photosport

Canterbury legend Steve Mortimer has apologised to Des Hasler for publicly criticising his coaching style, and wished him more success in 2017.

Mortimer resigned from his role as board member during a mammoth four-hour meeting at ANZ Stadium on Friday, just one day after threatening to quit should Hasler receive a new deal.

It was feared the two-time premiership-winning coach would be sacked for his team's meek finals exit this season, however the board voted to honour the final year of his contract.

Instead it was Mortimer who, after three years on the board, fell on his own sword for comments Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib said breached the club's code of conduct.

Mortimer said earlier this week that Bulldogs players lacked passion in their elimination finals loss to Penrith and that the club was "losing its DNA" under the former Manly coach.

"Every time I have offered my opinion, it has always been with the club's best wishes at heart," Mortimer said.

"I've expressed my opinions to Des directly - specifically my concern on the style of football we play and what the Bulldog culture is all about.

"I have also offered him my apologies for comments made in the media."

Mortimer, who played 272 games for the Bulldogs between 1976-88 and helped rebuild the club following the salary cap scandal in 2002, will remain involved with the club in a newly-formed Alumni Mentoring Program headed by Hasler.

"I wish Dessie all the best for 2017 and beyond and want to see the hard work, investment and effort everyone at the club has put in reap the rewards it deserves," he said.

Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle denied the club had reached out to former player and current Canberra assistant Dean Pay to replace Hasler, saying she was confident of success in 2017.

Hasler hasn't missed the finals as a coach in 12 years across stints at Manly and Canterbury, leading both clubs to a combined five grand finals for two premierships. However, both of them were at Manly.

"His track record is proven with us and also previously with Manly," Castle said.

"We're very confident that he will go forward into this season with the support of the board and myself that we'll see results on the field in 2017."


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