Three days after winning his first ever minor premiership, Des Hasler ticked off another career milestone by being named the Dally M coach of the year.
Despite winning two competitions and reaching three grand finals while he helped rebuild a shattered Manly from a decade ago, Hasler was never had the honour of being named the competition’s top mentor.
On receiving the award Hasler paid credit to those who worked underneath and beside him.
“I think that it’s really important that you recognise (the other coaches) that you have around you and the support staff and the assistants that work with you tirelessly throughout the year,” Hasler said.
Hasler has already had some spectacular achievements in 2012.
He took a rag-tag squad that was not tipped by many to even reach the finals and turned them into the minor premiers – and one of the favourites to take out the title this season.
Fullback Ben Barba was transformed from an occasionally top shelf player into the game’s outstanding player.
So too did Hasler bring out the best in mid-season signing Krisnan Inu, unwanted by the Warriors and now one of the biggest attacking threats heading into the finals.
In a testament to Hasler’s outstanding work at the Bulldogs in just one season, he claimed the award ahead of South Sydney’s Michael Maguire, Cronulla’s Shane Flanagan and the man who replaced him at the Sea Eagles, Geoff Toovey.
Like Hasler, Maguire was able to bring the best out of his previously inconsistent Bunnies – including the masterstroke of moving superstar Greg Inglis to the No.1 role.
Flanagan has taken the underrated Sharks to the finals for the first time since 2008, while Toovey overcame a disastrous off-season to have the Sea Eagles primed to become the first team to win back-to-back titles in a unified competition since 1993.