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Holland wishes he'd listened to Hasler more

Bulldogs centre Kerrod Holland is feeling nostalgic as he remembers some of the tough lessons he learned under former coach Des Hasler.

As the Dogs prepare to travel to Lottoland on Saturday to face Hasler's new team Manly, Holland was gracious enough to admit he owed Hasler but didn't realise that until the two-time premiership-winning coach was gone.

"Well I remember the bow legs and the lovely head of hair," Holland told when initially asked what he remembered of the Hasler years – six in all at the Bulldogs (2012-17).

"He was just a great man and it wasn't until he left that I really understood what he was trying to do for my game," the 26-year-old said.

"Once he was gone I could see what he was telling me was actually benefitting me. I wish I listened more when he was here.

"He has a certain way he goes about trying to build his players up. I couldn't really see it then.

"I thought some of his comments were trying to tear me down but I see know they were trying to inspire me," Holland said of Hasler's back-handed compliments.

Sea Eagles v Bulldogs - Round 8

"He's pretty particular the way he goes about things like say defence. He analyses a lot of things and in picking out what you did wrong he's trying to help not harm you.

"I couldn't really see what he was trying to do for me back then.

"But now I realise the lessons he was trying to teach me. I've obviously taken it all on board now."

With all that in mind, Holland is hoping to seek out Hasler post-match and thank him – regardless of the round eight match result.

"I haven't obviously seen Des since the end of 2017," he said of the time Hasler was sacked by the previous Bulldogs board, "but I know what it was like when we used to play Manly.

"Everything was sort of heightened when they were the opposition.

"So I can imagine it would be the same with Des preparing Manly to play us. They'll be up for it.

"Des is a great bloke so I'd be happy to shake his hand after the game."

Holland is one of eight players currently in the Bulldogs' top 30 that were coached by Hasler.

But one of the new faces, Milperra junior Jayden Okunbor, Hasler will also be familiar with. Manly along with Wests Tigers were reportedly interested in the winger before he committed to stay at Belmore another two years this week.

Okunbor plays outside Holland on the Bulldogs' left edge.

"It's great to see a local junior get extended here. He's only played five games but they've obviously been pretty good ones… It's unreal to have him stay," Holland said.

"He's good in defence. Sometime I see him shooting out – he's a big boy, so it helps.

"We're all getting better and better as a team each week. We are not happy with 2-5 start so we intend to change that."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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