Hasler’s clutch decision seals ‘Dogs win

This is why Des Hasler is considered one of the greatest modern-day NRL coaches.

Canterbury’s chief orchestrator, Moses Mbye, had just levelled the scores at 16-all on the siren against Penrith with the second of two tries in a clutch second-half performance that brought his team back from the brink of defeat.

He’d also earlier nailed his team’s first conversion of the evening, one week after going four from six off the tee in their season-opening thrashing of Manly, and was ready to step up to the plate again.

But Hasler had no hesitation in calling on debutant Kerrod Holland to boot the match-winning two points from the sideline to seal a come-from-behind 18-16 victory.

“The call came from Des pretty early,” Holland said .

“All the boys come up to me before I kicked the goal and said, ‘There’s no pressure. We’re willing to go back and if we have to, go to golden point.’

“So I didn’t feel any (pressure) at all.”

It was a relatively easy shot, 20 metres out and 15 in from touch, for the 23-year-old Newcastle junior, who claimed he’d previously performed his goalkicking heroics “one or two” times through his junior career.

But none would compare to the occasion of Thursday night, when a handful of mates from his hometown in Singleton had made the five-hour round trip to witness his memorable debut.

“I won’t forget that one in a while. It’s pretty special,” he said.

“It’s something you’ll always think about as a young kid, especially in the park by yourselves kicking goals. To get one on debut is outstanding.”

Hasler said Holland, who was deputising in place of injured pair Brett Morris and third-choice centre Chase Stanley, had earned his first NRL jumper by simply showing a “great work ethic”.

“He was particularly impressive with the NSW Cup last year, and he was looking for an opportunity, and he’s worked really hard,” Hasler said.

“Great work ethic. Just goes about getting all those little things right. You seen him do that tonight.

“It’s a debut that dreams are made of. It’ll be particularly memorable for him, this one. I thought he was steady tonight and came up with the big plays when he had to.”

It wasn’t all perfect for the Bulldogs however, with captain James Graham on report for a first half shoulder charge on Penrith prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

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