Former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has offered some words of encouragement and wisdom to the lowly Canterbury Bulldogs after their horror start to the new NRL season.
Hansen joined the Bulldogs late last year as a high performance consultant with the club struggling to make progress on their rebuild which includes failing to make the NRL’s Top Eight since 2016.
Despite Hansen’s arrival, the Bulldogs haven’t bucked that trend in 2021 as they sit dead last in the NRL after going winless in the opening five rounds.
Hansen told the Daily Telegraph the Bulldogs’ slump isn’t something that can be fixed quickly.
"Everybody in the Bulldogs would say they're not where they want to be, but you can't just snap your fingers and get there," Hansen said.
"They've had a rough start … when you're trying to change something and you've been struggling, the positive of having these tough games is they're getting a true reflection of where they are against the best.
"That's the reality. You can't walk away from reality."
The Bulldogs signed new coach Trent Barrett midway through last year on a three-year deal and quickly recruited Hansen to his ranks, having previously worked with Hansen when he spent a week with the All Blacks in 2019 to upskill as a coach.
The Daily Telegraph reports while Hansen remains based in New Zealand despite his position, he has been on phone calls weekly with Barrett to help the situation.
Hansen said finding a solution will take time though.
“Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, who have allowed things to go the wrong way for probably longer than they should have, the road back to where they want to be, is going to be longer than what it should be,” Hansen said.
"You can't change that, that's what it is. You can't run away; you can't hide from it.
"You've got to own it and there's going to be some tough days, but out of the adversity, you're going to build something that is going to last.
"You want to build something that's going to last not for one year, but forever."
The Bulldogs could take a first step to that this week when they play fellow strugglers the Cowboys on Sunday.