Hasler's lesson on moment-um

So what do you get when four coaches, one of them a former teacher, turn up to Rugby League Central in late September?
 
Almost 20 minutes' worth of rugby league's best political-speak and, as host Yvonne Sampson eloquently put it, a timely lesson in linguistics.

Most of the NRL sphere was still reeling from twin final score-lines that made the Holden Cup look like a game of soccer on Monday, so we put it to the four remaining clipboard holders: 

Had they thrown their playbooks out the window and merely instructed them all to fire at will? How, with only a grand final qualifier up for grabs, did we get two semi-finals where the only opponents teams were facing inside the first half-hour mark were the clock?
 
"You've got to think about it because it has happened in a lot of games this year," said Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
 
"I think Saturday night's game, our first game, Manly-South as well – it's happened a lot, in a lot of games. The attacking advantage that's happened in the rule changes this year – and some tweaks to that – has given room for larger momentum changes. 

"So as soon as a team gets an advantage, they've got better advantage through refereeing interpretations and some rules. And it's hard for a team to right that when they're under pressure. Especially under the pressure of this end of the season."

Also, Robinson adds, it helps when you have a player like Johnathan Thurston. 

"We had a fairly good player in the opposition who could've won that game for them and we couldn't hold him," he said. "But I'd like to think it's a lot more in the attacking hands than in the defensive hands."

Des Hasler, a former primary school teacher, put it this way: "If you take the –um off momentum, what have you got?" he asked. 

Uhh... moment, Des? 

"So I think that's what you, as a journo, that's what you've got to focus on," he instructed, "because we've got some very skilful players playing the game. There's some amazing athletes playing the game. 

"And sometimes you miss a kick, or you miss a particular player, or you miss a particular tackle. So in all those games – particularly the Roosters-Cowboys one – there's some incredible moments where the players have just seized that time and turned it into points. 

"And you put a number of those moments together and it turns into a great game of footy. [But] I'm sort of over momentum."

Which is certainly odd, because the Bulldogs have it in bucketloads at the moment. At least that's what Hasler's opposite this week had learned from his vantage point in the stands at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
 
"They certainly started the game very strongly. They looked like they got their mojo back," Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said. 

"I wasn't surprised when Manly came back because Manly have been doing that for 20 years, really. That was a tough game. And that's what the Bulldogs club has been built on for many years. 

"They know how to win tight games. They know how to win semi-finals. [We're] looking forward to a very big challenge and probably something similar this week."