Hasler realistic about Klemmer's progress
Bullocking Bulldogs prop David Klemmer may have grabbed the limelight in this year's State of Origin series, but his club coach Des Hasler insists there is still plenty of improvement left in the 21-year-old.
Klemmer was the breakout star of this year's State of Origin series, rubbing many Queenslanders the wrong way throughout, and is set to be a key figure in the Bulldogs' run home to the finals.
Asked on his thoughts about how Klemmer handled the Origin experience, Hasler remained realistic about the progress of his tearaway prop.
"It's been a great experience for Dave. He doesn't overcomplicate things, which is the most refreshing thing about him; Dave just gets on there and gets the job done," Hasler said.
"He knows there are still parts of his game he needs to address though and that's the exciting thing about watching a young player such as David come through the ranks. Origin has been really good for him and he'll build on that.
"He had a wonderful time, and I thought he had a great series, and he's certainly established himself as a player."
With the Origin series now behind Hasler's five Blues representatives, and after a disappointing 16-8 loss to the ladder-leading Broncos last Saturday, Hasler said his team wouldn't underestimate an Eels side chasing a fourth straight victory.
"They have been going really well and coming along quietly. They have overcome certain challenges, not so much on the field but off it, but the playing group have stuck really close which is good to see," he said.
"Brad's got them playing well and with a bit of relief. Friday night the motivation for them is pretty clear as is for both sides – it's a crucial game. Both sides will be willing."
The Bulldogs mentor remained hopeful of the "distinct possibility" of his team climbing from eighth to the top four by September.
"The table is pretty congested isn't it really? So it'll probably make for pretty compelling viewing over the next month," he said. "You're going to see some good footy, in the past you've seen competitions where teams have broken away but there are still a lot of teams vying for a top-eight spot."
Not worried about how consistency in his halves will impact his team, having named Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds in the six and seven jumpers for Friday's clash against Parramatta, Hasler said shifting Moses Mbye to the bench was a matter of keeping him refreshed for the rest of the year – before adding it was a "possibility" he'd change his halves depending on the Bulldogs' opponents in the coming weeks.
"It's been a big couple of weeks for [Mbye] and it's really important as a young player – it's been a big year for him and he has that versatility role about him – for him not to be rushed," Hasler said.
"I don't think the halves or the consistency is really the problem. For us it's probably making sure we're working on parts of our game that we need to like our possession, which is really important for us."