Hasler: They wouldn't cop it in US
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler says he's speaking for everyone when he says the Dallas Cowboys would never lend you their most important player midway through the NFL season.
His side's losing streak extended to three when they were downed 22-12 by Parramatta on Sunday afternoon without gun Origin pair Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson.
The Bulldogs struggled with a makeshift halves pairing of hooker Michael Ennis and second-rower Josh Jackson, and while Hasler made it clear post-game that he wasn't using the absence of his playmaking duo as an excuse, he certainly wasn't afraid to voice his frustration with the current scheduling and arrangement.
"We're not the first club to experience it. Of course it's tough on the clubs, but the clubs expect that. You plan for it as best you can but it's not an excuse," he said.
"Other clubs are going through the same experience and it's happened year after year after year. But it's something the NRL or the Commission or whoever's running the show have got to look at.
"We need State of Origin, there's no doubt about that. It's a wonderful product, we know that. It's a great game and it's not going to go away.
"But you ask the Dallas Cowboys or someone like that to go into a game without a quarterback because you've got State of Origin on. What do you think your answer would be?"
Hasler put forward his State of Origin strategy on Saturday, calling for a portion of the NRL schedule to be decided when interstate teams were announced so that teams not affected by the representative season could play the weekend before an Origin game on Monday night.
"Rugby league clubs are literally franchises and it's about franchises making money. At no stage am I using it as an excuse but you know, [the NRL have] got to do better," he said.
"We won't whinge about it. I'm not looking at it as an excuse, but for all the sides and all the clubs who are battling for financial stability and to make the financial sides stack up as well, the Commission have got to do something about it."
For all of Hasler's comments about the impact of the representative period, the fact is the Bulldogs created more than enough chances to trouble an Eels side also missing Origin stars Jarryd Hayne and Will Hopoate.
But their task was made just that little bit harder when fullback Sam Perrett came off just before the halftime break with a knee problem.
"Obviously we had prepared for certain players playing out of position, but then we had a couple of crucial injuries, losing Sam Perrett meant we had to re-jig our entire side," he said.
"I thought our effort... I was pretty pleased with our effort given the circumstances in finishing the game with 15. But we created enough opportunities I think, to get a result.
"Probably a bit of execution at crucial points [let us down]. We had our share of time on the tryline... So it was a little bit disappointing and a little bit frustrating even given the situation and the team we put out on the field today.
"We were certainly in a position a couple of times to apply better pressure and maybe even win the game. But we didn't, they got the result and we got a quick turnaround now for a Friday game against the Raiders at Canberra. That won't be easy."