Results trump loyalty in the modern NRL
Loyalty is an important thing in rugby league.
Everyone you talk to has a story about sticking with their club and players through the bad times and enduring turmoil because at the end of the day, the love you have for your team's colours is deep and undying. They're not going to break up with you and you're not going to break up with them.
We often expect the same from players and coaches in the game, though I'm glad recently there's a greater understanding around business and those involved in the heart of the game doing the best for their families.
Following the fallout from Des Hasler's sacking at the Bulldogs however, I've been thinking about how crucial timing can be in a career.
Former Bulldogs boss Raelene Castle said the best CEOs don't stay in a position for more than five years and it can be that way for coaches, too.
There are obviously anomalies – no one is going to tell Wayne Bennett or Craig Bellamy to move on, but in modern-day NRL if things haven't changed for your team in five years, what are the chances they will?
Hasler's best year at the Bulldogs was 2012, a banner season for Ben Barba who was the catalyst for most of the team's attack. They made the grand final and lost. From 2013 onward, that attacking spark was dialled back – especially when Barba exited the club at the end of that season. They made the grand final in 2014 with a power game and over the past three years especially, their style of play has been defensively focused and often difficult to watch.
Hasler, as good and respected as he is as a coach, had reached the end of what he could do with the Bulldogs team at his disposal.
Loyalty never wavers. But change can be a good thing.
There's still plenty to be decided at the club, but I think Bulldogs fans are ready for something different.
And another thing…
I had to chuckle this week when one of my favourite forwards in the game, Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, put a challenge out to Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo ahead of their preliminary final this Saturday.
I had just finished reading a story in Big League this week with Taumalolo, who said every challenge is just further motivation to show the opposition up.
Taumalolo is my absolute favourite player to watch in the competition so this has thrown up another mouth-watering battle. Thanks JWH!