Hasler deflects pressure on Bulldogs

Canterbury coach Des Hasler has ducked tough questions about his side, walking out on a pre-game media conference.

While the Bulldogs sit in sixth going into Sunday’s NRL clash with Wests Tigers, they are being accused of underperforming, with club great Terry Lamb questioning the coach’s understanding of what he calls the “club culture.”

In addition, former representative back-rower Tony Williams is rumoured to be on the outer after being dropped to reserve grade for this weekend.

He is fighting to stay on at Belmore next year.

This match is also the first of three straight matches that in-form fullback Will Hopoate will sit out due to his religious beliefs.

Former New Zealand international Sam Perrett will drop back from the wing to take his place.

However, Hasler did not address any of the swirling drama around his club, walking out on an early morning media conference after just over three minutes on Saturday.

Instead he sought to deflect attention on his side by praising the Tigers, who have won one from their last seven, describing them as a darkhorse of the competition.

“I think they’ve gone a little bit under the radar to tell you the truth,” Hasler said.

“They’ve played some really exciting football. The only player they’re missing is James Tedesco at the back but they boast a really strong forward pack.

“They’re a great running side and they can score points.”

Co-captain Aaron Woods is one of a host of stars returning for the Tigers, alongside five-eighth Mitchell Moses and prop Tim Grant.

Mid-season buy Elijah Taylor has been named on a five-man bench for the Tigers.

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