Des Hasler has called upon Canterbury to seek wisdom and inspiration ahead of the new NRL season from a source far removed from modern day rugby league – George Washington.
The Bulldogs’ 2015 season ended in a semi-final defeat to Sydney Roosters, but many within the club, including the two-time grand final winning coach, viewed the season as a failure.
But instead of brushing away the past and moving on, Hasler believes the Bulldogs need to heed their lessons of last season.
“You probably wonder how someone in this position prepares for another season of the competition,” Hasler said in his address to attendees at Canterbury’s season launch at Sydney Markets on Tuesday night.
“And (to illustrate) I would like to use the words of a US president who said: ‘We should not look back, unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors and for the purpose of profiting by dear bought experience’.
The first US president made the observation during his role as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army during a crucial period in the American Revolutionary War, as the North American colonies sought to extricate themselves from British rule .
Washington, one of history’s most revered figures, urged his subordinates to use failure to inspire future success.
It is something Hasler wants his players to do this year.
“Indeed 2015 was a year useful in lessons and clearly bought experience,” Hasler said.
“Despite our fair share of injuries, suspensions and players missing due to State of Origin there was not one game where the team was out of the fight.
“Instead of being annoyed and angry and frustrated at how we fared last year we use it as a motivator to improve and go to the next level (this year).”
Hasler, who has a penchant for quoting from the great leaders of the modern age and is a strong believer in the powers of positive thinking, concluded his five-minute speech with a quote of his own.
“Let us jointly choose to be optimistic because it makes us feel better,” he said.