NRL Betting: Time for the hit
The Bulldogs narrowly missed out on playing finals footy in 2011, but currently sit just outside the top four
Des Hasler may not find a horse-head on his pillow, but David Murdoch thinks his old club has a vendetta it is eager to fulfil when they meet him in this weekend's NRL match-up between the Bulldogs and Sea Eagles.
'It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business.'
Des Hasler doesn't do a bad Godfather impersonation when asked whether there is still any animosity between himself and the club he took to the premiership in 2011 only to turn his back on them.
"It's not personal," he says.
But after taking his business to the 'family' club, Hasler's old Manly mob have wanted nothing more than to execute a very public hit on their former boss to settle the old beef.
Friday's NRL meet between the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles will be no sit-down, with any number of Hasler's old button-men capable of straightening out the former 'made' member of the Sea Eagles outfit, who fans believe turned on them.
It's the grudge match the NRL has been waiting for with Manly fans, who generally don't like to leave the peninsula, expected to swell the numbers at ANZ Stadium like never before. The biggest crowd for any clash between these clubs was just over 41,000 for the 1995 Grand Final won by the Dogs, and while it won't reach those heights, it'll go close.
The Sea-Eagles may have won the last two clashes between these two sides, but with Hasler now at the helm, the Dogs are a very different side.
• The Bulldogs lead the competition for offloads (15.5) over the last four rounds
• The Sea Eagles have made the fewest tackle busts (19.5) of any team over the past four rounds
• The Bulldogs have lost their past two matches against the Sea-Eagles
Despite this, they go into this much-awaited clash after back-to-back losses against South Sydney and Melbourne.
The Bulldogs narrowly missed out on playing finals footy in 2011, but currently sit just outside the top four, while the Sea Eagles are clinging onto the top eight ahead of four other clubs on six competition points.
Manly have been all over the place this season. They went down to lowly Parramatta one week, beat the Panthers 30-nil the next and were then humbled by the Titans the week after that. All three of those sides are expected to vie for the wooden spoon late in the year.
After holding the competition front runners to a 12-6 score line in Melbourne in round seven, the Bulldogs should be favourites for this one, and no matter how matter how motivated Des Hasler's former troops are for this one, they won't have enough to beat the Dogs.