Des Hasler's Performing Better At Brookie Than Manly

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Des Hasler's Performing Better At Brookie Than Manly

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Manly's resilient defence is at the kind of level perfectionist Des Hasler would have been proud of during his days at the NRL club.

Now if only they could borrow a trick or two from him on how to fix their broken fortress, the newly-named Lottoland.

Hasler, who will return to his old stomping ground as Bulldogs coach on Saturday, is the undisputed king of Brookvale.

He has won 14 of his past 15 games there and four of those have come as an opposition coach.

By comparison, Manly have triumphed in just three of their past 14 at the ground, dating back to late 2015.

"Our record at Brookvale hasn't been good," Manly coach Trent Barrett conceded on Friday.

"That's something we have spoken about and we get a chance to win there."

As a player, Hasler won 72 per cent of games at the venue on the way to collecting premierships in 1987 and 1996.

On Saturday he will aim to consign Manly to their fifth straight defeat at the ground, marking their worst streak there since 2003-04.

That run, which stretched eight games, saw coach Peter Sharp released at the end of 2003 and Hasler elevated to the top job.

It sparked the beginning of a new era at Manly, under which the club returned the ground to a stronghold, winning almost 70 per cent of matches with Hasler as a coach, helping them claim two titles.

"It's always a great ground, a tough ground to play at," Hasler said.

"Home ground advantage is always something but Brookie is one of those rare dying breeds so to speak. It's a tough task."

Beating Manly's goal-line defence on Saturday might prove tougher.

The Bulldogs attack, spearheaded by halves Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds, appears to have kicked back into form in the past two weeks, particularly in their last up 24-12 win over the Warriors.

But cracking a Manly side that is the most resolute in the competition, could be a whole other challenge.

The Sea Eagles have made an average of 47 tackles each game in their own red-zone this season - the most in the competition.

In contrast, they average just 18 hit-ups in the opposition 20-metre area or the least in the competition.

But somehow they've still scored just as many tries as they've conceded, with 10, to sit at one-and-two.

"Defensively we've been really good," Barrett said.

"I was happy with our defence in round one. Round two we let ourselves down. It was back again last week.

"We've got to make sure we're consistent with our defence."

They'll also be aided by the return of props Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake from two-week shoulder charge suspensions.

- AAP

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