Hasler flies under the radar to game 400

Des Hasler will bring up game 400 as an NRL coach when Manly play the Warriors.
Des Hasler will bring up game 400 as an NRL coach when Manly play the Warriors.

Des Hasler hoped no one would notice that he was about to become just the ninth coach in NRL history to reach 400 games.

And true to form, just as he began to be quizzed about it by reporters on Thursday, Manly's internet connection began to drop out.

Not by any smoke or mirrors but just more perfect timing that allows Hasler to continually fly under the radar despite being one of the best coaches of the era.

Thirteen finals series, four grand finals, two premierships and a 58 per cent winning record.

Manly do, however, need another typical backs-to-the-wall effort under Hasler at Lottoland on Friday against the Warriors.

The kind he has made famous at the Sea Eagles.

Second-rowers Curtis Sironen (knee) and Joel Thompson (ankle) have both been ruled out, joining Tom Trbojevic, Dylan Walker and Brad Parker in the casualty ward.

But this is when Hasler is at his best.

"I thought I'd done well to keep (the 400th) quiet," Hasler said.

"From a coaching aspect and a playing aspect.

"I have had a wonderful time and it's been a wonderful ride. I enjoy every minute of it.

"You're fortunate to be around it."

Forced to do interviews via video conferencing due to the COVID-19 situation, Hasler's answers became more muffled as he was asked about his first game to his 400th.

"It's always been being able to adapt and being able to motivate," he said as the connection began to falter.

"Things always change."

Few coaches are more Manly than Hasler, having rejuventated them since his return before the 2019 season.

Last week was his 500th game as a player or head coach at Manly.

It went unnoticed, and just as well considering his players turned in a sub-par performance to be flogged 42-12 by Penrith.

This week though, they need a win.

Manly's run home appears favourable as they fighting for a finals spot.

But that will mean little if they don't put away the teams below them on the ladder, after slipping up to St George Illawarra last month.

"It's fairly congested around that bottom four (of the top eight)," Hasler said.

"Against a Warriors team who I think are always a dangerous entity at the best of times.

"There were some areas last week where we let ourselves down a bit.

"It's important we come back with a good result."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Manly have won 14 of their past 17 against the Warriors.

* Manly have conceded the fewest penalties per game this year.

* The Warriors are aiming for their first back-to-back wins since May 2019.

Stats: Fox Sports

Australian Associated Press