Mon September 24, 2012 12:00am
CANTERBURY coach Des Hasler and his Melbourne counterpart Craig Bellamy will be doing their best job this week to ensure that the grand final focus is on anything but them.
Both men prefer to fly under the radar, but because of the statistics, that's not going to happen.
Forget Wayne Bennett and Tim Sheens. Since 2007 when Hasler and Bellamy first crossed paths in a grand final, the pair has carved a reputation as the most dominant coaches in the NRL.
They have won two premierships apiece (if you forgive the Storm's salary cap breaches), share the spoils at one-all from meeting each other in two grand finals (2007, 2008), and now will be out to settle the score in this year's decider at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
Over the past five years at Melbourne, Bellamy has amassed an imposing record of 113 wins, one draw and 44 losses. That's a win percentage of 71.5 per cent. Under his watch, the Storm won premierships in 2007 and 2009 before the NRL took them away as punishment for salary cap breaches.
Hasler isn't too far behind: 108 wins and 49 losses in the same period for a win percentage of 68.8. He won flags with the Sea Eagles in 2008 and last year. Hasler will claim another piece of history if the Bulldogs win on Sunday night, becoming the first man to guide two clubs to premiership glory in successive seasons.
Now compare the records of Bellamy and Hasler to the other revered coaches. Bennett is seen as one of the greatest coaches of all but his record over the past five years falls short of the grand final combatants. He has had 87 wins, two draws and 65 losses for 56.5 per cent. He also managed one title at St George Illawarra in 2010 to take his tally to seven.